For those fans who accuse NASCAR powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports of not giving Dale Earnhardt Jr. its absolute best effort and resources, check out this story by Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer.â†µ
Fryer details how team owner Rick Hendrick ordered Mark Martin's team to make sure it worked better with Earnhardt Jr.'s team – even though Martin had a wildly successful season and had a shot at the championship while Earnhardt Jr. stumbled to a winless year and was 25th in the points.â†µ
According to the story, Hendrick called Martin's crew chief Alan Gustafson and said, "'Hey man, the 88 has got to run good, capiche?"â†µ
That's why Fryer writes that Gustafson's improved working relationship with Earnhardt Jr. crew chief Lance McGrew is expected to pay off.â†µ
"I have never in my career, in business or racing, challenged two guys and had them jump like Lance and Alan have done," Hendrick said. "I want to have one team with two cars, and Alan was in agreement and ready to do it two races before the end of last year. I can not tell you how proud I am of that, and for Lance for not wanting to build his own deal, and instead saying 'I'm not going to do anything if Alan doesn't sign off.'â†µ
"It's amazing to watch these two guys work on this together, and I guarantee you they are going to have their stuff together this season."â†µ
For the sake of Earnhardt Jr.'s legion of fans, they'd better.