From the Marbles - NASCAR

Here's an item that is fascinating but must be taken with a grain -- maybe even a dash or a pinch -- of salt. According to Captain Thunder Racing -- which, despite the superhero name, has broken several NASCAR stories -- there have been discussions within Hendrick Motorsports about switching the crew chiefs of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin. Martin's crew chief Alan Gustafson  (center) was cool with the move, as was Martin himself and their counterparts on the #88 team.

The discussions, which reportedly took place over Easter weekend, apparently ended with both teams deciding to let things play out for the next few weeks. Well, play out they did, with Gustafson and Martin winning last weekend's Phoenix race. In other words, ain't nobody leaving the #5 team now.

So the timetable has now slipped to May 16th and the All-Star race, according to Captain Thunder. If Martin's team slips back to the pack, the trade could indeed take place. However, if Gustafson keeps Martin at the front of the pack, there are other "trade" possibilities: the car chiefs of the #48 and #24 teams, Ron Malec and Jason Burdett, respectively.

Again, this is all hearsay and speculation, but there's an awful lot of rational sense behind this. One way or another, we ought to know something by this time next month. And it also looks like you might want to get your resume ready; there could be a position open at Hendrick before long.

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