Click on the logo below for the most complete Dirt Late Model coverage anywhere

For the Best RV Sales and Service


Rich's Articles & Blogs


« Hamlin recovers from his own strategy to stay in Chase race | Main | Earnhardt-Ganassi move to Ford seems far fetched »

Does Junior Nation keep other drivers from speaking their minds?

By admin | November 1, 2010

By Richard Allen

Sometimes NASCAR drivers can be pretty outspoken. But other times they have been trained well enough not to say anything that might be considered even slightly controversial or inflammatory.

Was this the case after Sunday’s Amp Energy Juice 500 at the Talladega Super Speedway?

In 2008, Carl Edwards bumped Greg Biffle on his back bumper in the middle of turns 3 and 4 which caused Biffle to spin and thus set off an eleven car pileup. After the wreck several drivers were critical of Edwards for bump drafting Biffle at the wrong spot on the track. Kevin Harvick’s criticism of Edwards was so harsh in fact that it led to a garage area scuffle between the two drivers the next weekend. Even Edwards’ teammate, Matt Kenseth, offered a rebuke of Edwards.

That 2008 wreck looked very much like an incident that took place on Sunday in Talladega. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gave Jeff Burton a tap in the back in the middle of turns 3 and 4 which sent Burton’s car for a spin and ended his day. Earnhardt himself as well as Jamie McMurray suffered enough damage that their days were ruined.

Since the wrecks were so similar the condemnation of the offending driver was the same, right? Well, not exactly. After all, the offending driver in the latter case was the sport’s most popular so to criticize him would bring about a firestorm upon the critic. And, the race was sponsored by Earnhardt’s primary backer. Bringing negative or adverse attention to NASCAR sponsors is highly frowned upon.(Was it really random that Robby Gordon’s car was selected for a post-race teardown after he had a press conference to announce a competing energy drink on Amp Energy Juice weekend?)

Instead of pointing a finger of blame at Junior, Burton simply stated that, “He did nothing wrong.”

Burton is not always known for taking it easy on other drivers. During the recent race at Martinsville he blasted teammate Kevin Harvick over his team radio after the two had a bit of an on-track spat. Perhaps Burton really wasn’t that upset in Talladega. After all, it is just restrictor plate racing.

Maybe the other drivers just don’t like Carl Edwards and don’t mind casting blame his way. Whereas they may indeed like Junior and don’t want to accuse him of anything.

Whatever the reason, it just seemed strange that Edwards was dealt with so harshly after an almost identical crash and Junior was not.

My guess is that no other driver, nor his sponsors, want to tangle with ‘Junior Nation’ so they avoid the fuss. Since Edwards has no nation having a run-in with him is not so damaging and it gives the sport some attention.

Aside from selling a lot of souvenirs and making a fortune, thousands of fans having your back each week can have other advantages as well.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

22 Responses to “Does Junior Nation keep other drivers from speaking their minds?”

  1. Nan Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 3:04 am

    OMG this is the worst bunch of crapola I have ever read.

    I have met Jeff Burton in person and got to spend time with him long enough to know he is not a puppet and speaks his mind.

    Jeff Burton is not afraid of Jr Nation instead was calling it the way it was. If he calls out his own team mate do you not think he does not have the gonads to call out Jr.

    As for Edwards he has cause his share of problems and more with drivers other than Jr. He is his own worst enemy.

    Guess you must have had too much Halloween candy and got brain burn out if this is all you could find to write about. There were many more aspects of the race that would have made a better story and had more truth to them.

  2. Tarheel_Rambler Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Maybe the difference is that before Burton even left the Infield Care Center, Earnhardt was there apologizing. Another difference is that Junior was not riding around in the back of the field all day and then bulling his way to the front.

    Earnhardt is, arguably, one of the best restrictor-plate racers in NASCAR. The incident with Burton just doesn’t happen with him. Maybe when a driver doesn’t make that many mistakes that affect other drivers, they don’t get called out on it.

  3. Mary Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Rich, please. You give Junior Nation way too much credit. Burton has never had a problem speaking his mind. If he felt it was a bonehead move, he would have said so; as he did with Busch earlier this yr, as he did with Bowyer last yr and as he did with Harvick 2 weeks ago and many many others. Jr’s legion of fans had nothing to do with Burton’s relative silence on the wreck and you do him a disservice with your comments.

  4. Kevin Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Perhaps it could be that as soon as Jr. had driven his car back to the garage he jumped out of his car and ran over the in infield care centre and went inside to see Jeff, take blame for the incident and apologize to him. In interviews with Earnhardt Jr. after the incident, he went on to say how much he respects Jeff and how he felt horrible about what had happened. Is it not possible that there is no outcry when something like this happens because Jr can man up and admit that he made a mistake and apologize to those that it affects. Apparently you haven’t noticed that when Edwards makes a mistake he makes no apologies for it and regularily states that it’s just hard racing and he’s trying to get everything he can out there and he just feels so bad for his guys that work so hard on his equipment.

    On a side note, I didn’t realize NASCAR had taken Robby’s car for a teardown. There might be something to this one, especially since Robby’s personal truck with his new energy drink logo on the side was towed from the owner/driver parking lot as well!

  5. Ken Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 8:27 am

    When Jr. caused the wreck, the booth monkeys didn’t say it was Jr. who caused the wreck even though it was obvious. The first mention of who caused the wreck was Jr. himself.

  6. Richard Allen Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 8:49 am

    For the record, Edwards apologized multiple times immediately after the crash in 2008.

  7. Brandon Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 9:38 am

    This is ridiculous. Replay after replay showed the car’s back end getting out of shape before that little tap Jr gave Jeff. It was not a shove, and they have been bumping in the corner for a bit now with the way these bumpers align it’s not nearly as dangerous. This was a fluke, and Jeff even said so. They used to frown upon bumping in the tri-oval too, but that happened every lap. Another excuse for Jr haters to do what they do best. Quit watching idiots.

  8. Jakie Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 9:59 am

    The so called “Junior Nation” has nothing whatsoever bto do with other drivers not speaking their mind. What stops other drivers from speaking their mind is, a complete loss of manhood. There are a few drivers that have the intestinal fortitude to say what they think. Kevin Harvick is probably the most outspoken one, followed by Robby Gordon and Regan Smith.

  9. Ricky Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    This article is meant to inspire one thing: the reaction it is getting right now. What a boatload of dung.

    Edwards is a straight jerk who had been irritating people with his idiot ways.

    What happened with Junior was an exception for him. Put Edwards in that situation and he wrecks someone 5 out of 10 times.

    Give me a break………

    Write an article worthy of reading…….

  10. Justin Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I dont think this is a fair comparison. When Edwards was the reason for the wreck, it took out a dozen cars. That means 11 drivers were taken out by another driver’s mistake. There is safety in numbers, so to speak. If all 11 take aim at Edwards, no one thinks much of it.

    But in this wreck, there were only 2 cars taken out (not including the 88). So there wasnt a large group of angry drivers. A large group offers a bit of anonymity so to speak. But Burton did the same thing to Jamie Mac 50 laps earlier, but there wasnt anyone on the inside so Jamie saved it. I think Burton is smart enough to know that criticizing Jr for doing the same thing he was guilty of doing, wouldnt go over well…..

    Was Jr 100% at fault? Absolutely, but it wasnt the dumbest thing I have seen a driver do….. Junior nation doesnt hold a grudge against drivers critical of “their boy”, unless said driver’s name is Kyle……

  11. Jean Bergeron Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Another writer, reporter that loves Carl! Go to You Tube, look up his fights, shows him with his hands on Harvick’s neck in Harvicks shop, going back on track when Junior was doing victory lap, he hit Junior’s car side, Junior had his arm out window, one shows him in camo shorts, black shirt, and cap going after Kenseth, and let us not forget when he went back on track after Kesolowski, could have killed him. I get tired of all the reporters talking about “Cousin” Carl as if he is so innocent. Watch the replay of Jeff and Junior, Jeff says he pulled in quick.

  12. mikeyfan5599 Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Junior Nation NO!, NASCAR not wanting to tarnish their “Favorite” Son’s image? GOOD POSSIBILITY

  13. Tom Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Your argument holds no water. Edwards was derided because by that point he had already earned a reputation as the sorts Eddie Haskel.
    Jr on the other hand for all his struggles is not known as a trouble maker nor as a frequent crasher.
    Different episodes with different driver that carry different standing amongst their fellow competitors.
    Nice try though.

  14. cecee Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Only 2 cars were involved instead of an 11 car pileup.
    The booth, media and drivers had no problem expressing themselves at the Daytona 500 in 2009 as I recall. They crucified Dale Jr for causing a wreck that took out many cars.

  15. Marybeth Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Jeff said to Jr. in the medical center, “Man you did nothing wrong. We were just racin’.” After seeing the video of how off-center Jeff bumped Jamie & knocked him totally sideways, & Jamie saved it, there wasn’t much else Jeff could say. :)

  16. Mark Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Jr Nation????? get real!!! your driver is the BIGGEST FRAUD that Nascar has ever had!!!!!!! 18 wins in 12 yrs!! big deal!!! Kyle #18 has more than that in half the time!!! He is the real Deal!!!!! not a fraud like Jr and Jr Nation!!!!!!!

  17. mikey Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Why are there so many Jr haters lately as mentioned above? It’s because Jr has never really done anything as a driver and only has a “nation” because of his father. Face it people Jr is NASCARS most popular loser. He needs to give up the driving duties for someone a little more talented overall. Being good at 4races a year shouldn’t make you a god. He is a hell of an owner. He should look at someone else who tried driving but gave it up to become one of the greatest owners in NASCAR.including giving his father 6 championships. Richard Childress should be Jr’s mentor and Jr should give it up.

  18. Overra88ted Says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    The whole world saw that JR. ran out of talent while trying stupidly trying to bump draft Burton in a corner, everyone except of course the apparently senile alien from planet Amp, no need to mention her name, as she is well known across the web for her weekly delusuional BS excuses for Jr. Dale Jr. was must really be feeling the pressure now, after talking smack at the beginning of the season about winning 3 races this year. Ha! With just 3 races left Jr. Nation, it’s time for your driver with average at best God-given talent to put up or Shut Up! Just how is your 20th someplace in points driver going to pull that off MaryBeth?

  19. lori anderson Says:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Of course the bashers are well and truly at it again. Jeff was driving the same way as Jr. very hard racing. bashers always seem to think they know everything , but in reality know very little. At least neither Jeff or Jr. rode around the back because they are not wimpy.

  20. MISSU3 Says:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Sad to see that the nation is still alive and well and making Jr. look like an idiot. NOTHING is ever Jrs. fault. That’s not what Jr. says, that’s what all his idiot fans say. The Nation (not Jr) has become the biggest joke in NASCAR. Fans of other drivers make more fun of them than of Jr. The nicest guy in NASCAR (but an average driver) has the biggest bunch of uneducated fans I’ve ever seen in my 48 years of watching the sport. IF ANYONE is afraid of the nation, they’re just as lame as the nation itself.

  21. Marybeth Says:
    November 4th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    What puzzles me is the amount of vehement animus directed against Jr…? There are drivers I don’t much care for, but I don’t even what is written about them let alone write vile nastiness in comments, and week after week, month after month, year after year? Sometimes I get mad & blow a gasket and say something I regret later, but I don’t keep it up month after month to follow. Has Jr. done something personal to them…? Are they being paid…?

  22. Overa88ted Says:
    November 4th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Marybeth, Marybeth! You don’t post the same delusional BS month after month? For over 2 months you posted that Jr.’s crew installed a 9″ Ford rear end gear backwards. The world is still holding its collective breath waiting for your explaination of how this can be done, BECAUSE IT”S IMPOSSIBLE TO DO. For over 2 months you posted the same BS that HMS was broke and dependant on JR for money. Those weekly 20th $ome place fini$he$ by Dale Jr. really add up don’t they. Stupidity exsposed, go back to Planet Amp.