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Monday Memo: A Slow Start for Jeffrey

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, June 1 2009
Jeffrey Earnhardt's Nationwide weekend didn't go as well as many had hoped.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeffrey Earnhardt's Nationwide weekend didn't go as well as many had hoped. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

In today’s Monday Memo we find:

* A lot of race fans had been wringing their hands purple as they awaited the NASCAR debut of Jeffrey Earnhardt.

The word on Earnhardt – who is the son of Kerry Earnhardt and grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. – is that perhaps, he has the best chops of those in the current gene pool.

Those who’ve been waiting to see if it’s the chops or the hype which is strong, will have to continue their wait. He wrecked his car and his big debut in practice on Friday and failed to qualify on Saturday for the Nationwide race at Dover.

One of those waiting is Junior.

He was conducting a press conference at Dover when Jeffrey crashed. Informed, he asked if his nephew hit anything.


Jeffrey’s backup car was well off the pace and he became the only driver not to qualify for the race.

* NASCAR may mandate that all restarts at Pocono this weekend will be of the double-file variety.

Reportedly, teams were given word of that recently. They were told that the race leader will be able to chose where in the two-car front row he wants to restart the race after cautions while the third-place car will be required to start from the inside lane of row two.

* As expected, General Motors filed for bankruptcy this morning. What does that mean for NASCAR and, specifically, the teams that are running Chevrolets?

Rick Hendrick, who has four Chevys in Cup (six if you want to count Stewart Haas Racing’s entries) says not much. In the short run, at least. As far as he knows, at least.

“From what I’ve heard,” Hendrick said following Sunday’s Cup race at Dover, “and I don’t know a lot more than what you read in the media, but if they do file for bankruptcy tomorrow, which all indications are that they will, it’s kind of a planned get-in, get-out situation.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in GM and especially Chevrolet. I’ve been with them for a long, long time. Our business is good; the products are good. And this economic downturn we’ve had has hurt everybody. It’s hurt every manufacturer; Toyota and everybody else. But I think some people, maybe their pockets were deeper than others. But I feel like we’re going to be good and we’re going to be OK. They’ve got great products right now so I’m hoping that if it happens, that they’ll get in and get out in a hurry and we’ll just take it a day at a time.” 

Asked if he had a Plan B in the event GM did opt to change directions, or is ordered to change directions, Hendrick said:  “My Plan A is Chevrolet and my Plan B is Chevrolet and my Plan C is Chevrolet.”

That got a laugh from reporters but it is unclear just how funny GM’s future may be

* On Wednesday, the eyes of the racing world will turn to Eldora Speedway in Ohio.

That is where the biggest names in that world will congregate to race in Tony Stewart’s “Prelude to the Dream” celebrity dirt-track race.

Scheduled to drive in the event, which is available on a pay-per-view basis from HBO, are, among others, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and the current Sprint Cup points-leader, Stewart.

Not favored to win, but perhaps the driver happiest to be in the event, is NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps. As he talked about the event in a break from his day job at the Summer Nationals in Topeka over the weekend, his smile just about connect his ears to each other.

Fans can order the event, proceeds from which go to Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camps, by going to www.hbo.com.

Last year’s telecast was good, but slow. Lots of down time between racing. To be expected.

* Every Memorial Day weekend, about 300,000 fans return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch the 500-mile race. Next year, the number could grow to 300,001. Richard Petty said he had so much fun at Indy this year, he may head back next year.

Petty fielded a car for John Andretti in the race. Andretti had some trouble during the month as he crashed and the car had to be rebuilt. But the car made it into the field an on race day, things went rather well. Andretti finished 19th. 

* Memo to self: Stop turning Cup races off with 50 miles to go.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, June 1 2009
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