DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JULY 03 2008: Richard Childress speaks with Dale Earnhardt Jr. driver of the #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet after practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
OK I might be jumping the gun a bit here but some weird things have been happening in the world of NASCAR lately.
Some of you might remember the little article I posted last weekend theorizing that Dale Jr just might end up driving the same black #3 car of Richard Childress' next year that Junior's Dad made so famous in the 80's and 90's. If you haven't read it you should, its a pretty good read - but I'm a bit biased about that of course.
To summerize, Dale Jr will end up driving in Sprint Cup for Richard Childress Racing next year in the black #3 car while Hendrick's latest edition, Kasey Kahne, takes the spot left by Earnhardt Jr's leaving.
This would only be a one year deal though as Mark Martin is leaving Hendirck Motorsports at the end of the 2011 season and Earnhardt Jr would go back and Kahne would move into Martin's spot.
The #3 car would either be made directly from the #29 car vacated by Kevin Harvick if he choses not to renew his contract with RCR or it could be made from the reminents left behind from the RCR Jake Daniels Team that had to fold at the end of last season due to sponsorship issues.
The financial gains by RCR, Hendrick, Dale Jr, DEI, NASCAR, Track Owners, and a handful of other people by Dale Jr's presence behind the wheel of the #3 car would be tremendous. Also, next year is the 10th anniversary of Dale Sr's death so what a fitting tribute it would be to have Dale Jr drive his Dad's car.
In my article I mentioned that Kevin Harvick could be on his way out at RCR as well as his sponsor Shell/Pennzoil, well we just found out yesterday that Shell/Pennzoil is leaving RCR and moving over to Roger Penske Racing as the primary sponsor of the #22 soon to be driven by Kurt Busch.
And now Lee Spencer of Fox Sports has just posted that, "if arrangements go as planned, Earnhardt will run the No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet for JR Motorsports at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on July 2." - (Foxpsorts.net)
According to Spencer this deal is a group effort between RCR, Jr Motorsports, and DEI while Hendrick Motorsports would be supplying the engine for the car.
My speculation is that the official word about this will be announced next week at The 9th Annual Dale Earnhardt Day Celebration on April 29, 2010.
All I have to say is that my theory about Dale Earnhardt Jr being in the black RCR #3 Sprint Cup car next year is getting more legs than a mutant spider.
You don't suppose they are doing this Nationwide thing to gauge fan interest as well as to help create interest, and that perhaps the info that was leaked to Spencer was from a planned leak just so more fan interest would be generated?
That remains to be seen, but one thing for certain is that I'm keeping an eye on this story because its got legs with Goodyear written all over them baby.
Update: According to SBN's Jeff Gluck, Dale Earnhardt Jr. offically confirmed he'd be driving the RCR Nationwide #3 Wrangler car in July with the more 'official' announcement happening on Thursday. That would be the 29th BTW, the day I told you he'd be making the announcement.