One can always dream, and there’s no question NASCAR fans visualize “what could have been” just like any sports fans do. What if Dale Sr. had made it out unscathed on that sad February day in 2001? What if Richard Petty raced today, how many wins would he get against this field and without small, mid-week races? What if David Pearson had run a full-time schedule, and what if Tim Richmond hadn’t died of AIDS?
When it comes to present-day teams and drivers, diehard NASCAR fans took to Reddit this week to knock around some of the scenarios they’ve always wondered about — and it was quite the discussion topic. Some remarks were obvious, while others were unique and probably not anticipated.
Here’s the post that kicked off the lively discussion:
The Dale Jr. vs. Teresa saga has gone on publicly for more than two decades and truly goes back to Dale Jr.’s childhood. StellarSubset12 posted on Reddit, wondering out loud, “What could have been?” So many questions are there about what would have happened if Dale Sr. had not died and DEI had continued to grow and prosper.
Or what if Teresa had been more flexible when Dale Jr. asked for a portion of the family company? What if that could have been worked out? MrDingus (below) posted what “he” thinks could have happened, as did Claymore-09, among others. There were a lot of opinions on this topic.
Truly, how could this have worked out? Dale Jr.’s greatest success of his career came early when he was at DEI. And with Hendrick Motorsports — despite all of the competitive advantages there — his tour was mostly a struggle. What could have happened if Dale Jr.’s self-admitted immaturity had morphed into his present-day mature self — while still at DEI? We’ll never know, but opinions abound on Reddit about how it could have ended up.
Greg Biffle was on the Dale Jr. Download podcast last fall and was rather forthcoming about what might have been if he’d not been as loyal as he was to Jack Roush’s franchise. He stayed with Roush-Fenway Racing for good reasons but had other options which may have turned into more success.
ReSirum brought up one of those instances, and you have to admit: It does make you wonder how much the Biff could have won because he certainly had a good pace earlier in his career. Roush’s team was certainly in decline after a certain point in the Biff’s career, too.
The whole dynamic of the Hendrick Motorsports domino effect certainly can create questions, as Shepard Of Fire 124 said below, along with Kline0727. What if the Chase championship format had never existed and Jimmie Johnson had not dominated those final 10 races the way he seemed to always do during his prime? What about if Gordon or Johnson had continued to race longer, would Chase Elliott have gone elsewhere?
Then there’s the Kyle Larson question, which SM154817 and TediousSugar brought up. If he doesn’t make the insensitive comment that cost him his ride with Chip Ganassi, does he end up having as much success as it’s turned out he has had at Hendrick? It’s a valid question.
What’s the most prominent “What if?” you have wondered about when it comes to NASCAR? Which fork in the road of racing history makes for a great topic when you’re camping in the infield at Daytona or ‘Dega, sitting around a hot fire with a cold beverage, just looking up at those lit-up high banks?