Never Let Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story

An off-week four races into the season tends to strain even the most inventive editorial mind. Of course, members of the media aren’t generally credited with much in the way of creativity, so I suppose it should come as no real surprise that we’ve been beaten with Look who’s on the bubble and Don’t look now, Kurt Busch is back and What’s up with Hendrick? stories.

And, really, editors can be a bitch, so I have endless sympathy for writers who are trying to feed the proverbial beast. But, there are some strains of thought that really strain credibility. Take this line I stumbled on today, from a story about the struggles at Hendrick Motorsports: 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin are another story. Both teams are in free-fall, Martin more so than Junior.  

I am very familiar with the need to make facts conform to a preferred story line, and the writer is to be commended for offering the Martin qualification. But, well, I’m a bit mystified by the assertion that Jr. is in freefall.

Has the first month gone quite the way anyone at Hendrick or with the No. 88 team might have hoped? Clearly not, but, let’s not forget, the No. 88 was easily one of the best cars on the track at Daytona and the team was strong at California before blowing an engine. But even more, Earnhardt has finishes of 11th and 10th in the last two races, and he’s climbed from 35th in points to 24th.

Freefall? Really? I dunno. I’d almost be willing to argue that’s an inexorable climb toward the top …