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Carol Fitzgerald

Dangerous idea: Junior should retire for the good of NASCAR

From The Marbles

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NASCAR would be better off if Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired from the Cup series.

Certainly, we've all heard this idea before. At the risk of having my Junior Nation membership card revoked, I think we still put this out on the table and give it the consideration it deserves -- painful as it may be to consider.

My good friend Jerry Offutt is of the opinion that with Dale EarnhardtJr. still driving, fans cannot move on to embrace another driver, even after Junior's generally lackluster performances of late. As Jerry puts it:

"Somebody said the other day that sports is the only thing in the world that people are truly loyal to. Think about that.A guy might cheat on the woman he is married to, but he is not likely to find another driver if he is an Earnhardt fan."

With all due respect to those men who would never cheat on their wives, and to Junior's legion of female fans, Jerry has a point here. He believes that if Junior were to retire, Junior fans would then be free to find another lover -- er, driver, and that this could be the start of a renaissance for NASCAR. More fannies in the seats, more enthusiasm; more comments on The Marbles that don't involve fanatical love/hatred for Junior.

On the other hand, one can hardly imagine Junior just fading off into obscurity. Many observers have indicated that Junior ought to aim a bit higher than just driving in circles and hanging out in his faux-Western town with his buddies. Danica Patrick's record notwithstanding, Junior could well make a far better team owner than driver.

So now it's your turn. Should Junior retire? And what kind of role would you like to see him playing in NASCAR in the future? We'll take a scientific cross-section of the comments, and email Junior our findings.* You never know, you might just change the course of NASCAR.

*-Or not.

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