NASCAR has two “Elvis-like” characters. Look at it this way …. if someone doesn’t even have a clue where Talladega is, or what a restrictor plate is, chances are they’ve still heard of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. These guys are the very biggest names in the sport …. and frankly, they’re in a different atmosphere than other drivers – from a popularity and marketing perspective.
Thus, what Hendrick probably meant was “there’s no room for 2 HUGE EGOS at the inn”. Don’t misunderstand my message. I’m not insinuating Earnhardt and Gordon are egotistical, brash or arrogant, in any way. However, they compete (perhaps, indirectly) for the distinction of the face of this fast growing sport. So, it’s only natural to suggest they don’t make a good fit in a sharing atmosphere as teammates.
Housing Earnhardt and Gordon, together, could be a possible disaster. They obviously respect each other and remain cordial. However, they’ve never enjoyed a relationship spirited as close as the one Gordon had with the elder Earnhardt. They were tight …. and a lot of people didn’t know that. The differences between NASCAR’S two biggest stars have gotta be rooted in a competitive determination to be the sport’s true representative.
There are glaring and distinct differences between these two guys. Earnhardt is the “rock star” …. and coolest guy in the garage. Gordon has the cred expected of one who’s dominated the sport in every aspect. For the record, I don’t think Earnhardt can carry Gordon’s lunch on the track ….. but, he sells a lot of Budweiser, and Wranglers, Chevy’s, Enterprise cars, Gillette razors ….. get the point.
So, I never saw these guys, together, anyway. They always make every intentional move to remain distinctive and unlike each other. Thus, cohabitating as teammates would’ve never worked. There a two distinguishing characteristics that separate, yet, describe these guys. Gordon is the consummate winner and Earnhardt is the definition of sheik and cool.
At least we know what really interests Rick Hendrick.