Dale Earnhardt Jr.
This is an article from the Sept. 22, 2008 issue
Earnhardt was fourth in the Sprint Cup standings after the Sylvania 300 on Sunday.
Dan Patrick: You had a bumping incident recently with Kyle Busch. Do you and he talk about what happened, to make sure that there's no problem?
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: No, I don't feel like doing that. We got a pretty good understanding that we don't really like each other that much. [Laughs.]
DP: How different is the personality you display in the car from how you'd be if we were sitting around having a beer?
DEJ: How you drive, that's who the real person is. There's guys out there that race you dirty and then act like they're your buddy off the racetrack. But you know deep down that person's tendencies are to be spiteful and screw you over.
DP: But are you different on the track than if we were just sitting around?
DEJ: The intensity would be different. In the race car I'm probably angry half the time.
DP: I didn't think it was good to drive angry.
DEJ: I don't like driving ticked off, but that's just the way it is—you're always angry at something. I think you run faster when you're pissed off.
DP: When guys come up to say, Hey, Junior, I got a number 8 tattoo, and now you're driving the 88, what do you say?
DEJ: Well, by now they've all got them changed.
DP: They've added an 8?
DP: But they were red back then, and now you're green.
DEJ: The number's still red.
DP: Do you have a tattoo?
DEJ: No, I don't.
DP: Wait. You hesitated for a moment. Do you have, like, a butterfly or something?
DEJ: I have a brand. About three years go, me and my buddies took a steak iron and branded each other on the shoulder. It hurt.
DP: What kind of brand?
DEJ: It says DMP. That stands for Dirty Mo' Posse [the nickname for his friends from Mooresville, N.C.]. I know, I know. Somebody gave me this thing so I could brand steaks, and we used it to brand our arms.
DP: How hot did you get it?
DEJ: Red damn hot.
DP: You could smell the skin burning, I bet.
DEJ: Oh, yeah. That was the worst part.
Can K-Rod Be Saved?
LAST WEEK I asked my radio listeners to vote on whether the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez, who set the single-season record for saves (58) last Saturday, should get the Cy Young, the MVP or both or neither. If you're K-Rod, the results weren't promising. Only 5% gave him both and 62% gave him neither. Some of this is respect for Cleveland's Cliff Lee (22--2, 2.36 ERA), but it shows views have changed since Rollie Fingers (1981), Willie Hernandez ('84) and Dennis Eckersley ('92) took home both awards. I think people are starting to see relievers as being too specialized, like DHs. Eric Gagne was the last closer to win a Cy Young, in 2003, and he had to be perfect (55 for 55). If K-Rod doesn't win this year, Gagne may be the last for a long time.
Eight the Hard Way
LANCE ARMSTRONG is back in the Tour de France, saying he wants to raise cancer awareness globally. But how do you draw people to watch Lance do something he's already done seven times? I think he needs to up the degree of difficulty. Here are some suggestions:
• BASEBALL CARDS in the spokes.
• MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY on the handlebars.
• DELIVER NEWSPAPERS TOO. L'Equipe?
• DO SOME JUMPS. For the X-Games crowd.
• CHAMPAGNE EVERY DAY. It's not just for cruising to the finish line anymore.
DARRELL ARTHUR and Mario Chalmers were booted from the NBA rookie symposium—the one that is supposed to teach them how to avoid getting into trouble—and fined $20,000 after the former Kansas teammates were found with women in their room. (The odor of marijuana was reportedly in the air, but none was found.) My question is, Why expel these guys? Not only do they clearly need the instruction, but they could have been part of the lesson plan. Here's what you do: Have them stand on stage, negative headlines projected behind them, while a speaker says, "Meet Darrell and Mario. Don't do what they did."
THE FINE PRINT: On the sideline during a win over Michigan, Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis tore his ACL and MCL, in an apparent attempt to impress Gisele Bundchen.
Go to DANPATRICK.COM for more from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other recent interviews, and hear live audio of Dan's radio show, 9 a.m. to noon ET, Mon.--Fri.