NASCAR moves to make puppets of the media, drivers

One of the themes of the just-ended NASCAR Media Tour is the idea that there has been way too much criticism of the sport by the folks who depend on it for a living. Drivers, TV broadcasters and others have been either chided or reminded that their critical comments might cause fans to tune out and not show up. Team owner Jack Roush was especially critical of TV broadcasters.

But the word was also being spread by NASCAR during meetings with drivers.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in one of the meetings and talked about his impressions this week. He was critical of NASCAR last August at Michigan, saying NASCAR needed to do much more to add excitement to the sport.

He was asked whether — after the drivers’ recent meeting with NASCAR — he would make those same comments today.

“After the meeting I wouldn’t feel comfortable making those comments in the environment I was in," he said. “I would take those comments directly to (NASCAR President) Mike (Helton) probably after practice once he’s calmed down a little bit or got away from the work environment and the stress of the garage where he would hear me, because everybody goes up in that trailer complaining all day long about something."

“They weren’t in there saying ‘Don’t do this here anymore or don’t do that anymore.’ They showed us some examples of us being negative and then they showed us some examples of the exact, direct reflection of that on the sport and what it did to the ratings. And it was very convincing. They didn’t fudge the whole equation to look good for them."

“It was pretty convincing what they showed me," Earnhardt said.

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