(RaceTalkRadio.com; February 21, 2012)
In the Chinese calendar this will be the year of the Year of the Dragon. But in NASCAR racing this will be the year of Dale Earnhardt Jr! Yes racing fans you have heard me correctly and I didn’t sustain a head injury recently. I have it on good authority that this will be the year Junior’s fans all get to celebrate. No I didn’t place a call to Miss Cleo in prison. I didn’t see the face of Junior in my tortilla. I had an exclusive interview with the entity that will be responsible for Dale Earnhardt Jr’s success in 2012…his beard.
Power of the Beard
Ask any hockey player and they will tell you all about the power of the beard. For over three decades no self respecting hockey player will shave his beard once the playoffs have started. A few have tried and their teams have been failures! Even guys that struggle to grow facial hair such as the Chicago Blackhawk’s Jonathon Toews have respected this tradition even though their scraggly beards made them look silly. Why are beards so powerful? Some say it shows team unity. Others say it shows self sacrifice for the greater good of the team. But renowned sports psychologist Frederick T Babble has explained it the best.
“When a world class athlete deals with the day to day grievance of itchiness on one’s chin, it reminds him of the life and death struggles of his ancestors from the days of the caveman,” babbled Babble. “Imagine a world where your daily contest was not a matter of glory and ESPN highlights but rather life itself!” Professor Babble then became incoherent and mumbled something about the Freudian Schizophrenic Moldavian Syndrome before I lost the Skype connection with him at Bellevue Hospital. Mere skeptics might right off the great Doctor’s opinion because he is a patient at Bellevue himself, but I am not about to disagree with the good doctor’s reasoning. The power of the beard can’t be argued!
History is Made
Never before in the annals of history has man attempted to interview facial hair! But as we often do here at RaceTalkRadio we have boldly gone where no journalist has gone before. Did you know that Dale Earnhardt Jr’s beard has its own cell phone? Thankfully a contact of mine at Daytona International Speedway was able to get me the unlisted number over the weekend and an exclusive interview with the most famous beard in the world!
Me: Will this be the year Dale Earnhardt Jr realizes he needs to keep you all season to power him to victory?
Beard: I think so and I did hide his razor.
Me: Do you think Junior realizes the power you bring him? You did accompany him to Victory Lane when he drove the 3 car at Daytona.
Beard: Dale understands my importance but those darn sponsors want me to be trimmed.
Me: What advantage do you bring to Dale Earnhardt Jr?
Beard: Extensive wind tunnel testing has shown I am good for a tenth of a second per lap in pack racing at plate tracks although there is a slight degradation in aerodynamics during single car qualifying runs due to the deficiency of dirty air congruence, which leads to a 17/100ths of a second increase in lap times.
I was stunned that facial hair understood so much about aerodynamics but I guess when you spend your life attached to the man who’s Daddy could see the air it all becomes second nature. Unfortunately our interview was cut short because it was time for the beard to accompany Dale Earnhardt Jr on his qualifying laps. As if the beard was some sort of 2012 version of Karnac the Magnificent, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s lap time would be 16.7/100ths of a second slower than pole sitter Carl Edwards! The advantage in drafting during the Great American Race will get Junior’s championship season off to a winning start next Sunday.
Pleading with Junior’s Sponsors
Is having a neat picture for your promotions worth sacrificing a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship? Please let Dale Earnhardt Jr keep growing his beard all through the 2012 season and you will be rewarded. In the past he has snipped the beard at times leading to a variation in the air flow through the cockpit of his No. 88 car. This clearly has led to inconsistency in his performance! Research at the University of Texarkana Engineering Lab (UTEL) has shown that left uncut Dale Earnhardt Jr’s beard will give him a huge advantage when the Chase arrives. Here is an artist’s rendition of what that beard might look like later this season along with a certified copy of the computer printout from UTEL showing the anticipated aerodynamic edge.
UTEL Wind Tunnel- 2 February 2012- Proprietary Data
(Exclusive copy of raw data from UTEL testing; first line shows control, second line shows results with beard, and final line shows results without beard in simulations)
The data above doesn’t lie there is no doubt this is the year of Dale Earnhardt Jr if he is allowed to keep his beard all season. All the pressure is off of him since the addition of Kasey Kahne has so many people focusing on Kahne instead of the No. 88 team. NASCAR media types are also talking about the return of the No. 48 team to the head table at the NASCAR Banquet. But the addition of a full time beard to a team that already includes Crew Chief Steve Letarte and the rest of the Dew Crew is just what is needed to push Dale Earnhardt Jr over the top. You might scoff at the concept of a beard making a difference, but when was the last time you saw a world champion in hockey without a beard when they lift the Cup? This is the year of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s beard and a championship in the making.
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