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I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Dodges and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC

Merger Madness

s we watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase run on down the road without any dang Dodges in it, we can totally dig the top 20 finishes of Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Robby Gordon at Hotlanta. They done nailed down – in order – 6th, 16th and 19th. ‘Ol Kurt got a bit sporty before skinning the wall and loosing his edge. All this shows that things are not all doom and gloom for the Charger kids and I’m guessing that new motor has a little something to do with it. But I’m here to tell ya Dodge has bigger fish to fry.

Y’all probably already done heard all the merger talk about Dodge and GM out on the street. It’s making this Halloween mighty scary, you know? But did you hear about some of the Dodge NASCAR teams talkin’ merger? Petty Enterprises (PE) has been ‘talking’ merger with a number of teams but the one that raised the most eyebrows was mergin’ with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI).

Now in the wild and wooly world of NASCAR racin’ that’s like marrying yer cousin. Even if she is cute and has a good job, it’s just beggin’ for trouble and it’s gonna get some folks to talkin’. And chances are, they’ll be beating their gums for a couple of moons on this deal. Petty being a Dodge team and DEI being a Chivvy team is alot like cross breeding your favorite hunting dog with, well, anything BUT a huntin’ dog. It goes like this. Big time race teams sign long term contracts with their manufacturers. They also set up their car building to match that brand. And if they’re a team that builds their own motors, well, shucks, that’s got to match, too, ya know.

Now we all know multi-car teams run better than single car teams. I think it’s that quantity buying thing. So if these two notable but still strugglin’ teams were to merge, the question that would naturally follow, ‘What the Hell are you thinking?’ would be ‘What kinda car are you gonna run?’ I mean, what would the advantage be when a new team that is made from two old ones STILL has to build two different kinds of cars and motors? Now, my bidniss mind ain’t up there at the Donald Trump level (although my new store-bought hair might just be) but I don’t see the good of merging and keeping two brands. Bottom line, if PE and DEI merger, after they come up with a catchy name like PEI or EPI or DEIPE or PEDEI, one brand has to get on down the road. Which means it comes down to will Petty dump Dodge or will DEI tell Chevy to shove it? I don’t see neither of those happening. Nor do I see Dale Earnhardt’s widow giving up much of her control to the new Sugar Daddies that now steer PE. (We’re hearing they’re the ones yanking Kyle outta his seat. It sure as heck ain’t Kyle hisself!) So what would a PE/DEI merger create? And what would the benefits be in said merger?

Now before you answer, remember this. DEI has a co-op deal going with another Chivvy team, Richard Childress Racing (RCR). They build Chivvy motors together. So that merger would get to messing with that motor deal, too. RCR is not about to jump to Dodge as Chivvy is very big on a team that has nailed down 11 championships using their stuff. Even if RCR would leave Chevy, do ya think Chevy would want only the Hendricks team as their deal? Furd got all their marbles in Jack Roush and while they’re running good, they ain’t exactly checking out on the field. But that might be part of the deal FOR the merger, as we heard another deal where it looks like a brand may be changin’.

We hear that Gillette Evernham (GEM), which is more Gillette than Evernham these days, is thinking about crossing the big pond and going with Tie-Oda. Now that deal would be a big, BIG problem for all Dodge teams as that’s where a lot of the Dodge motors and car technology come from. So if GEM is gonna jump for Japan, you think they will still keep building those new R6 P8 motors that are helping the Dodge boys save some face this season and get ‘em back in the game next year? Do ya think Dodge will want a brand new Tie-Oda team building their stuff and knowing all the spicy details? Naw, me neither.

Now, if you can make sense of any of this and see where it’s going, lemme know cuz I ain’t got a clue. I do know that this is the goofy time of year and this year, the term Silly Season is so understated. It’s like my Uncle Jammie, who proves just cuz you got scooped up by aliens in a flying saucer, that don’t mean you’re a rocket scientist - even if they did give you a free physical. The point being here that what’s going on with these teams and all their merging is gonna have a big effect on the rest of the racing community, dig? I don’t want to use the domino effect line cuz playin’ dominoes is simple compared to all this high finance. But racing really does reflect the real world – at least here in the USA. Mergers equal folks gettin’ sent home with no job. Mergers mean we got less choices as to who we do business with and who to cheer for. And it generally makes for some pretty unpopular decisions across the board.

So let’s hope all this merging and messing settles down and we get back to just racing. Cuz, Lord knows, we need to have sumptin’ we can just sit back and enjoy and not have to think about the real world and all its craziness. Know what I mean? I think I need to find me a beer or six. 

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