“The Power of 3”
By Kellyanne Lynch
22 April 2003, 12:30 PM – 29 December 2003, 11:30 AM

Beta-Reader: Christy

Disclaimer: This fanfic is 100% a product of my twisted, overactive imagination. I got the idea for the story during a car ride back to my house, not from anything based on reality. Nothing in this story is true.

Summary: Who is trying to break apart DEI?

Author’s Note: While I haven’t been writing fanfics for a while, I have kept busy with my website, Mikey Power! : dearjoan’s Michael Waltrip site. Check it out if you get the chance! It’s at http://www.mikeypower.com .

A/N 2: This story takes place at the end of April 2003 at NHIS. Midway through the running, the plot underwent a drastic change. I should have altered the setting. Ultimately, I decided it didn’t matter. This is a fanfic; poor sequencing will be another testament of its fictitious nature. For the purposes of this story, pretend there was a Winston Cup race at New Hampshire in April of 2003.

A/N 3: At one point in the story, Michael miraculously hears his radio inside his helmet, despite being over a hundred feet away from his car. Ignore this horribly construed plot device. Pretend that Mikey can really hear his radio despite not being hooked up, and that he’s not actually hearing voices in his head.

Dedication: To Tweedle Duh, whose classic NASCAR fic, “Inked Madness”, inspired this tale. This story is also for all my NASCAR-loving friends on Live Journal.

Rating: PG-13

* Please e-mail matchbox20orbusted@yahoo.com with questions, comments, theories, complaints, or words of wisdom.


1 – Don’t Forsake the Spirit

Running a hand through his strawberry blond hair, Dale Earnhardt Jr. heaved a sigh. “Man, how much longer does this thing go on?” he mumbled to Jade Gurss, who sat beside him.

The PR man checked his watch. “Just fifteen more minutes, bud,” Jade murmured his response.

“Man, I’m dying!” Junior scrunched up his nose. Rubbing the back of his neck, he added, “It’s hotter’n hell in here, and my ass hurts.” He threw on a smile, and waved at the three girls who were next in line. The adolescents scuttled forward, clutching bright red 1:24 die-casts.

“Hi, Joonyah!” They cooed.

Junior showed some teeth. “Hey, ladies!” he replied with a wink. The girls giggled and blushed, and one of them presented him with her Budweiser die-cast. Junior took a black Sharpie to the miniature car, and scrawled his signature across the hood. “So where are you girls from?”

“Wusstah,” the first girl smirked. She accepted her car from the driver’s outstretched hand, and her friend dropped another one into his palm. “It’s not too fah away.”

“It’s like fawty-five minits,” the second girl beamed. Giggling, she glanced over her shoulder at her companion, who was next in line. Her braids swung over her shoulders as she turned back to Junior. “My friend has somethin’ she wants ta tell ya!”

The third girl’s face brightened to match her die-cast. She bit at her lower lip, and handed the miniature car to the racer.

“Come on, Sarah!” the first girl chided, chuckling into her die-cast.

Seeing that Sarah was withering before him, Junior diverted his attention to his left hand. He watched as he formed the letters of his name in thick black ink. Junior passed the little 8 car back to its owner. Nodding toward the trio, he smiled. “You ladies take care, ya hear?”

Junior watched the three girls shuffle off in a cloud of chatter and giggles.

“Maybe you need to listen to your own advice,” a husky voice croaked, sinking into the driver’s head. Junior’s stomach muscles tightened. The eyes of the racer scanned the individual who approached his table, a heavy-set man who was dressed all in black, save a faded #3 patch on the right side of his T-shirt. Dark, sunken eyes stared at Junior amidst a sea of gray skin, beneath furrowed brows. The man slid a shimmering 1:24 Dale Earnhardt commemorative car into Junior’s hands. The cold metal pierced his skin, and the young racer shivered.

Junior pressed his Sharpie into the #3 on the die-cast’s hood, and watched the black ink mar his father’s number. Swallowing hard, he formed the letters of the name that he shared with the legend.

Sticky breath hissed across his left ear – in and out. Junior threw his hand into the rest of the autograph.

“You are so small,” the voice assaulted Junior’s ear. The racer jumped, and bumped heads with the man.

Taking slow, even breaths, Junior regained his composure. “What did you say?” he asked, and handed back the die-cast.

The man in black cradled the #3 car in his arms. “You heard what I said, boy,” he glared at Junior. “Don’t act dumb. So tell me, Dale Jr. Are you Dale Earnhardt Incorporated?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, man,” Junior’s voice wavered. He cleared his throat, and turned to the woman and little boy, who were next in line. “You can come on over,” he beckoned, forcing his quivering lips to smile.

The boy beamed at Junior, and scampered forward.

“You wait your turn, brat!” the man in black bellowed. The boy leapt into the air, and ran back to his mother. He burst into tears.

Hugging her son to her leg, the woman glared at the man. “How dare you talk to a child like that!” she scolded.

The man pressed an accusing forefinger into Junior’s forehead. “How dare this man forsake the spirit!”

Stepping between the man and Junior, Jade held up his hands. “Sir, can you please calm down?”

“How can I be calm?” the man exclaimed. “How can I forget?” Holding up the die-cast, he shouted, “How can I forget that 3 is the perfect number?”

Security guards pushed their way through the crowd, hands fixed on their pistols. The man’s eyes darted from the horror-stricken faces of the bystanders, to the police, and finally to Jade and Junior. They bulged in their shadowy sockets as they trained upon the racer. The man swung his arm back, and hurled the #3 die-cast. The car slammed into Junior’s forehead, and the young Earnhardt staggered back. He tripped on a table leg. Jade caught his arm before Junior hit the floor.

People screamed. The security guards sacked the man in black, throwing him onto his stomach and slapping handcuffs on his wrists. The man wriggled around on the floor until the guards yanked him to his feet. “Don’t forsake the spirit! Don’t forsake the 3!”

Jade clutched Junior’s elbow as the racer regained his footing. He held his right hand to the table’s edge, his left to his throbbing forehead. A warm, sticky substance caked about his fingers, and he fought back a darkness that loomed in the periphery of his vision. Through failing sights, Junior squinted at the man in black. Dark, haunting eyes stabbed back at him.

“Don’t forsake the spirit!” the man growled at him, and the young Earnhardt’s knees buckled. He slid out of Jade’s grasp, and crumpled to the floor. The maniacal shouting and screams faded around him, and fell into silence.

Junior blinked. Opening his eyes, he found Jade hovering over him. His right-hand man was pressing the sleeve of his suit shirt into the wound. The racer’s forehead pounded, and Junior gasped.

Grimacing, Jade swallowed hard. “Hey, man!” he whispered. “How are you…”

Junior closed his eyes, and shook his head ever so slightly. Wincing at his friend, he murmured, “What the hell was that all about?”

“We’ll know soon enough,” Jade replied. He glanced over his shoulder, before returning his sights to Junior. “The police have him in custody. The paramedics are on their way…”

“I don’t need ‘em.”

Withdrawing his hand from the wound, Jade held it before Junior’s eyes. The once white sleeve was drenched red. Jade widened his eyes at his friend. “I beg to differ.”

Junior heaved a sigh. Closing his eyes, he turned his head to the side. Pain and turmoil clattered within his skull. It rocked and thumped and battered his brain, until he opened his eyes. His gaze rested on a black blur. Squinting, he focused his vision on the commemorative Dale Earnhardt car. He studied the damaged die-cast, and ran his sights along the dent across the hood. Junior’s stomach sank.

So what did you think? Please email me with your comments! = D

~ deej