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FACE OF A NATION

It appears the car of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will carry Pepsi blue or Mountain Dew green next season as he embarks on his first season of image and career enhancement at Hendrick Motorsports. That's a safe and secure route, just like leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. for NASCAR's most successful outfit. He could have made more conversation-worthy choices. ...

Grey Poupon (below): What would taste better on a Martinsville hot dog than some froufrou French mustard? It'll bring a little class and distinction to the garage. This sponsorship would be worth it just to hear Earnhardt Jr. say Grey "Poo-pawn'' every weekend for the next several years.

Chico's Bail Bonds: Good enough for the Bad News Bears, then good enough for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Obama for President (left): Take that Rudy Giuliani! There would be no better way to show presidential hopefuls that a little side trip to a Nextel Cup race is simply not enough to earn that coveted red-state credibility anymore. Obama reportedly raised $32-million in the second quarter of this year alone, plenty enough to power a top-notch program.

Wonder Bread: No one could possibly follow Ricky Bobby as pitchman for America's most ubiquitous bread except for NASCAR's most popular driver.

Lifetime Television for Women: NASCAR claims almost half its fan base is female, and who among them can resist Reba, The Nanny or movies such as All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story? It would definitely help Earnhardt Jr. define his new post-Bud identity.

Satan: Many Junior fans have long assumed Hendrick Motorsports has a deal with the ultimate evil. Now that he's in the Hendrick fold, Earnhardt Jr. might as well put Mephistopheles on the hood.

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