When the number popped up on the screen, I thought, "Oh no!"
As I stared at my handheld decibel meter to get Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s noise level during Richmond International Raceway's pre-race introductions, the sport's most popular driver peaked at – wait for it – exactly 88.0.
It's so cheesy, isn't it? Driver No. 88 gets exactly 88 decibels to win the weekly noise contest. At first, I wasn't even sure anyone would believe me.
Fortunately, Sprint public relations man Chris Madigan was standing with me and watching the noise meter as well. He confirmed that he saw the 88.0 pop up as the peak reading and said I could use him as a witness.
So there you go. Sometimes, the cheesy is reality. And Dale Jr. really won the Richmond noise contest with an 88.
The full rankings for this week:
|Driver||dB||Type of Noise||Explanation|
|1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||88.0||Cheers||It's cheesy, but I promise it was a real number.|
|2||Kyle Busch||86.1||Boos||Not many cheers for eventual race winner|
|3||Jeff Gordon||85.4||Cheers||Fans hoping for repeat of Phoenix race|
|4||Mark Martin||85.2||Cheers||Still a sentimental favorite|
|5||Jeff Burton||85.1||Cheers||Much love from home-state fans|
|6||Denny Hamlin||84.9||Mostly cheers||Local favorite almost swept weekend|
|7||Carl Edwards||84.8||Cheers||Rated higher than usual|
|8||Juan Pablo Montoya||84.7||Boos||Zero love for the pole-sitter|
|9||Kasey Kahne||84.3||Cheers||Many males cheer for him, too|
|10||Jimmie Johnson||83.9||Boos||Bad starting spot hurt noise level|