By admin | August 4, 2008
By Richard Allen
During the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono ESPN reporter Mike Massaro gave a report about the good working relationship that exists between the driver of car #8 Mark Martin and crew chief Tony Gibson.
Maybe it was an inadvertent disclosure, maybe it was a statement taken out of context or maybe it was a statement that showed true feelings, but whatever the case, Massaro revealed a criticism of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by his former car chief.
Massaro said that Gibson had told him of how he and Martin sat down after Saturday’s practices had been rained out and discussed possible set ups they could put under their car for Sunday’s race.
Massaro ended the report with a telling comment Gibson had made regarding the difference between the two drivers. “We sat down and he offered some suggestions about possible set ups,” Gibson had said. “We didn‘t get a lot of set up suggestions from our last driver.”
In recent weeks, rumors of DEI’s demise have been circulating. Stories claimed Teresa Earnhardt was looking for a buyer to take the organization started by her late husband. Still other reports had said the #01 team was on the verge of being shut down if a sponsor was not found soon.
And more, drivers seem to be leaving or at least wanting to leave in droves. Mark Martin has already agreed to drive for Hendrick Motorsports next year. Rumors are numerous that Martin Truex is looking for another seat. And, talk has circulated about the possibility of Paul Menard taking his lucrative sponsorship money to another team.
In a later interview Gibson adamantly defended Ms. Earnhardt and her organization.
Perhaps nerves are frayed at DEI or perhaps the verbal jab was nothing more than a statement taken out of context. Whatever the case, Junior has certainly landed on his feet, sitting 2nd in the overall standings.
And, of late DEI has been looking stronger as well.
Maybe it is just time for both of them to move on.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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