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Drivers’ wagering done in poor taste

By admin | February 6, 2009

By Richard Allen


During Thursday night’s Bud Shootout drawing for qualifying positions numerous drivers were openly involved in some friendly wagering. The event was broadcast on SpeedTV and thus was seen by many fans. The drivers behavior did not send out the best of messages for a sport that is having issues with fans feeling as though they are not appreciated.

This is not going to be an anti-gambling blog. I myself have been known to wager a few dollars on the NCAA Basketball Tournament among other things. So, my problem was not with the gambling itself. My problem was with the way drivers were making such light of the amount of money that was involved.

A person who in this economy may be concerned with losing a job or not being able to pay the basic bills does not want to hear a bunch of young, highly paid race car drivers treat $500 as if it were play money. For most fans, that kind of money would buy a month’s groceries. For the drivers, it is pocket change.

Many fans are starting to feel very much distanced from today’s drivers. It does not look good for the drivers to seemingly rub it in the faces of the ‘mere commoners’ that they are so well off when so many of those fans are struggling.

Someone from NASCAR should have been alert enough to go down there during a commercial break and ‘discuss’ this with those involved. And it should be pointed out that not all drivers were involved.

Maybe I am making too much out of nothing but it just came off in a very bad light to me. There are many out there right now who are having a hard time and I just thought treating what to most of us is a significant amount of money as something to play with was in poor taste.

NASCAR and its drivers, now more than ever, should be going out of their way to consider the needs and concerns of the people who gave them all of that money.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

13 Responses to “Drivers’ wagering done in poor taste”

  1. John Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thought the whole gambling thing was in bad taste.

    I don’t care if they want to bet like they were, I just think they should have kept it to themselves.

  2. Erich Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    You make a great point, Rich. Pearson, Petty, Yarborough, Baker and the rest were giants because they were just like us. You could relate to their lives off the track and still admire their greatness on the track. Today’s drivers don’t seem to care too much about relating to us–they’re too wrapped up in themselves. There’s not enough driving talent in the world to overshadow that arrogance.

  3. Bobby Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Sad to say, I agree. Many fans are gonna have to stay home and watch the races due to their finances this year & to watch the drivers toss money around like it was paper felt like a punch in the gut. I did feel a little better to see my driver was not involved, or a least if he was he wasn’t verbal in front of everybody. They have repeated their statements they need to help the fans in todays economy & then turn around & act like this! Yea I say Bad Taste Indeed!!

  4. Scott Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 8:13 am

    The whole show was a joke what a boring waste of time for me and the drivers, I am glad I recorded so I could minimize the pain. The drivers were just trying to stay awake. That show should have been 30 minutes and saved us all from the embarrassment. :)

  5. Colin Baird Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Ya’ gotta stop and look at what we’re dealin’ with in this little betting game. Except for Michael Waltrip, they were all a bunch of young guys that thinks the NASCAR World revolves around them. These guys are still just kids. Michael Waltrip is somewhat older, but he has the mentality of a elementary schooler. Speed Channel should be held responsible for beng ignorant enough to give this “Bovine Fecal Matter” any air time.

  6. amy anderson Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 9:26 am

    “Someone from NASCAR should have been alert enough to go down there during a commercial break and ‘discuss’ this with those involved”

    Alert!? Are you kidding!? NASCAR hasn’t been alert for the past ten years! Besides, people with a whole boatload of money do not think nor act like the rest of us. They live in an entirely different universe and truly haven’t a clue as to how the other half lives nor really do they care much. Every reactive decision NASCAR makes takes into account what the track owners, sponsors, and TV want, and then they think about how to cajole those who actually do keep them afloat into coming to a race and spending all their money. I have a feeling that this season they are going to be in for a rude awakening. As it is, I think that attendance at races and baseball games will give us a good indication of just how bad the economy is.

  7. Tracy Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    I’m glad someone had the guts to call these bozos on their betting hundreds of dollars on such silliness, when people at home can’t pay their heating bills.

  8. yankeegranny Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I think the betting was a subltle way of telling NASCAR tht they were not happy being there, and thought the whole Shootout thing is a joke. Good for Matt asking where Ryan Newman was. I hope they just drop the whole thing next year. Was I the only one who saw the interview with Jr, last night where Rutledge asked him what the rules were for getting in the shootout and he kept insisting that it was because it was he won a pole at Pocono. It was worth watching.

  9. SallyB Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    And isn’t Denny Hamlin (the one instigating the bets) the driver who made such a big deal out of ‘helping fans’ by giving away 4 tickets to each race this season to fans? Guess we know he can easily afford it.

  10. Phyllis Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I decided nto to watch the show. Now I know why. It was truly and sadly, a waste of time, as it always is.

    10 minutes of Kenny Wallace is too long.!

    The wagerers were insensitive, it seems. Perhaps fans will return the favor when they decide not to purchase all those millions of $30.00 t shirts……

  11. Lynnsy Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    This may not have been in such poor taste had the drivers stated any winnings would to to Victory Junction Camp or Make a Wish. At least if they were going to throw their money around people wouldn’t as insulted if they knew it was going to a charity with a good cause.

  12. Pete Says:
    February 8th, 2009 at 2:10 am

    You are all the same people that say drivers should have personality and not just speak like a bunch of PR geeks. I guess it stings to see them in the real light. You cant have them both. Its either: we had a great car and I would like to thank tom, dick and harry corp or its a bunch of drivers talking smack. I am a racer and so are my friends. We say crazy stuff or we are PR. Go watch F1 if you dont like a little red neck eery once in a while.

  13. taco Says:
    February 8th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    all of you shut up, most of you sound as if you would complain about getting hung with a new rope. go back to youre dale jr worshiping and close youre mouths!