Well, nobody was more shocked than I was by today's news that Dale Jr. would leave DEI (and his wicked step-mother) and start next season driving a Camry!! You could hear a collective "WHATDAHELL" resounding from America's heartland. But you had to figure that with Waltrip and Jarrett stinking up the place, the powers that be at Toyota headquarters would either have to do the honorable thing or find another star to hang their collective futures on. So when Jr's whining finally got heard across the Pacific, the boys in the boardrooms in Aichi, Japan started a typically quiet Japanese campaign to dangle a Godzilla-sized wad of cash in front of our boy's normally befuddled face. But, Jr., not well-known for either his command of the language or his extraordinary business sense was having none of it. Luckily for him, his sister --who tells him when to change his underwear -- saw the light.
Jr's diehard fans can't imagine it. They all think Jr. is out for one thing: to win the Nextel Cup championship and let's face it, until Toyota figures out how to take their Formula One expertise and dumb it down for NASCAR, that aint gonna happen. But in the meantime, Toyota's got money to spend [and, to be honest, they regretted having to settle for Waltrip et al when they really wanted Jr. or Jeff all along], so why not spend it on a brand as strong as Junior? Can't you just see a nation of future auto buyers sitting behind the wheel of their dad's Budweiser-red Camry pretending they're Dale Earnhardt Junior? I can.
The thorny issue yet to be resolved is if Budweiser - which is committed to Dale Jr - will be able to swallow having their quintessentially American logo on a rice burner.
Domo arigato Mr. Earnhardt.