Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No YELLOW LINE Rule for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

With all the hulabaloo the past few days over the incredibly stupid and sheer boneheaded move by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to cause the big one at Daytona, taking out the race leaders, not once did I hear any of the FOX announcers, or the ESPN analysts, or the SpeedTv analysts bother to mention the most obvious rule violation made by Dale Junior. He clearly went well below the double-yellow line when he was trying to pass Vickers (who technically was the first of the lapped cars; Junior's was second), then came back up and hit Vickers' car to cause the wreck. Didn't anyone else see this? I saw it when it happened and wondered about it; all the replays clearly show Junior's car below the line...What gives? Are the yellow lines for everyone but the 88 car? Apparently....

FOX's analysts, particularly Darrell Waltrip, went from an immediate reaction of "That's just plain wrong" to a damage control reaction of "Oh, Junebug doesn't drive like that!" Well, DW--you and your buddies should realize that yes indeed "Junebug" does drive like that. His antics in the qualifiers, as well as the 500, show a driver who is out of focus and making a lot of errors. A few years ago at Bristol Dale Junior deliberately spun his car to get a caution, then was simple-minded enough to say so on the radio. Had he not done so, and that sound byte played on the air, he likely wouldn't have been penalized for that.

In the Nationwide Series race the day before, Jason Leffler was penalized for rough driving for 5 laps for something not nearly so vicious and egregious. But, NASCAR hasn't given up on touting Junior as their poster boy, so fans must assume that he's above reproach and won't be penalized by NASCAR -- or by NASCAR via the announcers who are certainly opinionated when it comes to some drivers.