As I develop my NASCAR fandom, I freely admit that I have some biases when it comes to drivers.
I really like Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, and Matt Kenseth. I'm okay with Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, and Michael Waltrip. I can't stand Kyle Busch. I'm not a big fan of Jimmie Johnson (though I respect the hell out of him and his team) or Denny Hamlin.
There are a bunch of drivers I don't care much about one way or the other.
I'm just enjoying the races, and I'm trying not to force myself to be a fan of one single guy.
Anyway, I've always liked Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He understands the pressure he's under to win because of his name. He understands what it takes to win, and he's never given up no matter the bad luck he's been dealt.
Sunday at Daytona, the bad luck was his own doing. He couldn't find his pit stall to save his life. He tried his damndest to drive back into contention, but he got caught up in a pack near the "end" of the race. When that happened, a frustrated Junior caused "The Big One".
I know he defended himself afterward, but there is no defense. Junior caused the wreck by driving too aggressively in his effort to get around Brian Vickers. If this had been any other driver on the grid for Sunday's race, there's no question what would have happened.
In fact, if you want proof, just ask Nationwide driver Jason Leffler.
If Leffler was "driving aggressively" and deserved a five-lap penalty, what the hell was Junior doing?
The bottom line is that people are going to accuse NASCAR of treating Earnhardt differently than other drivers.
It might not be a correct statement, but it's a defensible one, and NASCAR will have a hard time refuting the argument given the evidence presented from this weekend's races.