So, where will Dale Earnhardt Jr. hang his Budweiser hat for the next decade? There are many schools of thought, coupled with insane speculation and predictions. Be sure about one thing …. this is absolutely about money. Every free agent says it’s not about the money …. but, it’s always about the money.
That said, Earnhardt Jr. will only drive a Chevrolet, because he has a lucrative endorsement package with the bow ties. See, I told you it’s about the money. He will also limit his choices to “top tier” teams. Why? These teams offer the best opportunity for wins and championships – and that equates to money and the potential for more money.
The potential suitors are limited to Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. These are the only Chevy teams that can afford Junior’s services. None of them have reservations regarding alcohol-related sponsorship, and Budweiser goes where Junior goes. So, this is a good thing …. so far.
However, there are egos to consider here. And, egos are going to be a very instrumental factor in determining Junior’s destination. Thus, I wouldn’t count on seeing Junior joining the Hendrick organization. Jeff Gordon is the “alpha male” at Hendrick. And, history has taught us there’s merely room for one alpha male in any group or sect.
This would leave Childress and Gibbs as the remaining possible destinations. In the end, my gut tells me Junior will end up with Childress. There’s a personal connection and it will probably influence the final decision, if the money’s close. Which, I suspect will be the case.
So, cast my vote for Dale Earnhardt Jr. becoming a member of Richard Childress Racing. It just makes sense …. and money.