What does it take to be a success in NASCAR? Maybe a psychologist
What's the best route to success in a sport that can wear down the strongest minds? Hiring a sports psychologist -- and channeling a little John "Animal House" Blutarsky -- may not hurt, writes David Newton.
DOVER, Del. -- Dr. Jack Stark listened with great interest Sunday as the television aired radio communication between Rick Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the Chase opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.He marveled at the calming effect the owner of Hendrick Motorsports had on NASCAR's most popular driver, who was upset that a bad set of tires turned a five-second lead into a huge deficit.He applauded the way Hendrick made the point that his driver might be better served by working with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. to improve the car instead of ranting and raving about an issue that was beyond anyone's control."He's taking money out of my pocket," Stark said with a laugh. "He should get a license. He's practicing psychology without a license."Stark is a licensed sports psychologist out of Omaha, Neb., who has worked with Hendrick Motorsports for the past seven years and sees many other drivers and crew members professionally.He worked indirectly with two-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus a few years ago when their struggles with their relationship kept them from reaching a championship level.
|Junior says he's trying|
Dale Earnhardt Jr. wishes he had a do-over after last week's radio-chatter tirade at New Hampshire became a controversy. Still, he says he's communicating the best way he knows how. Story
• Hendrick wants gentler Dale
It's a sport that is very hard on people because it's a 10- to 12-month season. You're gone all the time. There's a high divorce rate. It's intense, and it never seems to stop because there is something going on every single weekend. That part takes a toll.
-- Dr. Jack Stark
"Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! It ain't over now. Cause when the goin' gets tough, the tough get goin'. Who's with me?"
-- John "Bluto" BlutarskyFrye dimmed the lights Tuesday and turned on the video of John Belushi's [Bluto] Delta House fraternity speech from the 1978 classic "Animal House."Everyone laughed.
A color-coded chart listing each member of Johnson's crew is taped to the inside of the No. 48 tool box.Red stands for aggressive, blue for passive and green for introverted, the results of a course the entire team went through together.
Mark Garrow has preview of Sunday's race in Dover, Delaware. We hear from Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
"Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical."
-- Yogi Berra
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