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Are Junior’s comments legitimate or just whining?

By admin | March 8, 2009

By Richard Allen


Between practice sessions on Saturday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Dale Earnhardt, Jr. told his feelings about the track surface, tires and the Car of Tomorrow.

This column is only to a degree about track surfaces, tires and the CoT. The real point to this column is that not matter what Junior says about anything, it is news. Then, after his remarks are published the real fun begins as his fans and his haters debate what was just said.

Whether non Junior fans like it or not, he is one of the most important voices in NASCAR. This is true not because he wins so often or has claimed so many championships, but rather, because he is so immensely popular. Winning or not, the media is going to go to Junior to see what he thinks and because he has so many fans NASCAR will also have to listen.

“It’s slick,” Junior said. “It’s an old race track. It’s like Rockingham used to be years ago. I don’t mind it. It’s fine.”

Typically, older track surfaces make for better racing. Just after tracks have been repaved there is usually so much grip that every car will stick right to the bottom of the track. The bottom groove is the short way, and thus the fast way, around when there is plenty of grip.

Fans who enjoy good racing should be glad to hear Earnhardt or any other driver say they like the tracks with rough surfaces.

Earnhardt went on to add that the root of the problem in the lack of grip in Atlanta was not the track surface or even necessarily the tires. The real problem according to Junior is the Car of Tomorrow. When asked if the CoT was playing a role in the troubles many drivers were complaining about he said, “100 percent. This is … this is a hell of an excuse for a race car. It’s hard to drive. It makes everybody’s job harder. Even Goodyear’s.”

There are things to like about the CoT and things to not like about it. Personally, I like the fact that the car is hard to drive and causes these highly paid drivers to complain. So, I was glad to hear Junior say he didn’t mind the rough surfaces but I’m going to have to chalk this statement about the car up to whining.

Junior has only won one race in the new car, so his complaints likely have a basis in his lack of success.

Many drivers could be put on the list of whiners in regard to the CoT. But, not every driver is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Had any of 40 other drivers in the garage made the same statement Junior made no one would have bothered to write it down. Only Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and possibly Jimmie Johnson get anywhere near the same amount of attention from the media as Junior.

The strange thing about whenever Junior makes any statement is that it becomes news whenever Junior makes any statement. Many e-mails and comments I get criticize the media for publicizing everything he says. However, the pure and simple truth is that a person who is that popular gets publicity because it is what people what to see and hear.

Even those who are critical of the media for making known whatever Junior says still go ahead and read or listen to whatever Junior says.

Whether he be commenting on the CoT, tires, track surfaces or any other issue in racing it is going to make headlines. Then, the debate will be on in the comments sections and message boards as to whether or not Junior is a legitimate voice in NASCAR or he is just a whiner.

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

Topics: Articles |

20 Responses to “Are Junior’s comments legitimate or just whining?”

  1. Colin Baird Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 5:09 am

    I read your article about Dale Earnhardt,Jr., and in my opinion, you more or less admitted that if not for ‘Junior’, you wouldn’t have a whole lot to write about. Is that correct? If that is indeed the case, you writers should be thankful that ‘Junior’ exists, or you just might be out of a job. But then, our illustrious president would probably cram another stimulus plan down our throats to save your hides.

  2. John Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:17 am

    You want drivers to be open and not PC with comments, then you call them whiners when they say someting you don’t like. Ask Jimmie Johnson what he thinks of the COT, he’s said the same thing and he’s the 3 time champ.

  3. The Old Guy Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:56 am


    I wonder how many remember this statement by Jr.?

    “I could win regularly if I had better equipment.”

    Well, he now has better equipment and he has one “fuel mileage’ win in forty races in that equpment. I wouldn’t exactly call that “winning rerularly”.

    Unfortunately, whenever Jr. opens his mouth, everyone listens to what he has to say.

    However, I have begun to notice a trend developing. As recently as six weeks ago, the bulk of the links to articles on Jayski’s site were to articles about Jr. Today, out of 46 links posted on that site, only three have “Jr.” or “Earnhardt” in them.

    So, maybe there is a lot more to write about these days than Jr.

  4. D Jones Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 7:50 am

    TO whines and drops the ball a lot and commands attention.

    JR drives a lot, whines, and commands attention.


    Dunno bout TO but me thinks in JR’s case stepmama was right.

  5. Wesker Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Wouldn’t it suck if the most popular person in your favorite sport was a mediocre talent who wasn’t smart enough to keep his mouth shut when things weren’t going his way?

    Oh, wait…

  6. Sara Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    I’m still trying to figure out why he’s the most popular, he can’t drive for crap, he’s not that good looking, even has trouble with the English language.
    Oh it must be the name

  7. Wayne Alington Sr. Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Winners win, losers whine!

  8. Sharon Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    The media picked Jr to gravitate too because of his name. When his father died, everyone looked to him because he is the son. Junior whines, every driver whines. As far as the COT goes, I think it hasnt made racing better. Atlanta used to be a great track for racing,now its not any better than most other tracks. Until the teams and NASCAR figure out how to make car better, fans are going to be subjected to the boring races. I think Junior is right on the mark about the car,but I also think he needs to step it on track. That or get a new crew chief…

  9. NANCY V H Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:17 am


  10. John Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Remember when Kyle Busch bashed the COT and then was the first one to win in a COT at Bristol? He said he still hated the car.
    Was he whining?

  11. Ken O Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Jr. whines and complains about everything and uses it for an excuse for not winning. Everyone else has exactly the same conditions except Jr. has better cars and support than most. He lost his excuse for not winning when he switched teams. He needs to shut up and drive. He needs to concentrate on driving and forget the other stuff.

  12. Bdeholl Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Get rid of the AMC Gremlin and slim down the greenhouse so it’s a better aero package. Jr. is Jr., he doesn’t pull punches.

  13. Stephanie Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Jr. is an average driver, no more no less. He is where he is because of his name and nothing else.

  14. Brady Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I’ve never understood why people complain of an apparent hypocrisy when someone complains about politically correct answers and also complains about whining. Being yourself and not submitting to the pressure to be politically correct is an admirable trait. Whining about every last thing from the tracks, the tires, the cars, and the crew chief is NOT an admirable trait. Once the guys get past the PC stuff and start to show their true selves, good for them. But don’t act surprised that they will now be judged according to whom that true self is. A jerk who pretends to be a nice guy is annoying. A jerk who admits he is a jerk is not much better. Not that Dale Jr. is a jerk or anything like that, I am a much bigger Jr. fan than some of the ignorant Jr. fans I see posting tripe on the Internet. It’s not enough that he says what is on his mind, he needs to grow a set and stop the constant whining as well. Don’t PRETEND not to be a whiner. Literally grow a set and be a man. That’s all.

  15. Callaway Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    It’s so nice that when Junior’s name is on the topic all the haters form like a swarm and dredge all the old DEI step mom stale stuff up and what a bum he is and has no talent, I’ve even seen comments about his physical conditioning good lord.

    I just don’t get it if you don’t follow a drivers career then just click on by, if you follow another driver go to those posts. All the print and media hacks follow Junior like moths to a flame because they know they will get a quote good or bad they will hear what the guy wants to say. The vast majority of the rest are more like PGA golf pros the stock car drivers all coming out of this prepacked box just rip it open, add water and microwave for 3 minutes and you get a walking, talking, polished spokesperson.

    If you feel he’s whining too much then don’t go to the trailer for a comment, if you don’t want to hear what he has to say don’t go to the drivers post race sessions simple. But all the hater posts, and bad press will not convert anyone who follows Junior to change to another driver, and all attempts are just a waste of time and effort. There’s are quite a few of us that think it’s kind of refreshing for a change not to hear the usual boilerplate filtered publicist written comments for a change.

  16. WAZMAN Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    JR. complaints about the new car are true.Most of the drivers have complained about it at one time or another,but lets face it JR has nothing of relevance to say anyway.Untill you have a Sprint Cup championship and are even capable of contend for one you should shut up and DRIVE!

  17. Gary Yates Says:
    March 9th, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Anyone who hates the COT is not whining. It is a terrible piece of junk and ruining racing.

  18. earl lewis Says:
    March 10th, 2009 at 6:22 am

    i heard from a reliable source, that jr will probably be let out of his contract next yr with hendricks. jeff g is watching an up and coming nationwide driver. and i believe mountain dew/amp energy is wanting someone(anybody to win in that car) .. i look for jr to be out of a ride next yr. rick hendrick will fire you if you do not win! look at terry labonte(and he had a championship) casey mears, brian vickers, kyle busch, and jr is no better than them???????

  19. Dave Says:
    March 10th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Where is this constant whining some of you are talking about? You need to stop attributing the words of his fans as if they are coming directly from the source!! So Jr said something about this crappy car. the same car I’ve heard no fewer than 25 drivers complain about!! Where’s the whining in that!! It wasn’t an excuse.. I think Jr knows better than anyone here that he needs to step it up!! Sorry Rich this was just another attenpt to bring the lovers and haters together for a bashing!!

  20. dalesgirl48 Says:
    March 17th, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    yeh all this bashing makes me sick, I am a hugh fan of juniors and i will defend him till the end. hey sara Kiss our butts okay. junior could drive right over you and not even break a sweat so there honey. as for all you other idiots. AW HELL IT AINT EVEN WORTH IT.