Thursday, April 19, 2007

Maybe Jimmy Spencer can blame the media

A lot of people were really upset at Jimmy Spencer because of some of the things he said on Speed during the prerace show before last week's race at Texas.
Spencer criticized Kelley Earnhardt Elledge for "keeping" the Earnhardt name and for being a bad negotiator on behalf of her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., in talks over a new contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc.
I've got no help for Spencer on the latter issue. Anybody who doesn't think Elledge has done a first-rate job on her brother's behalf isn't paying much attention.
But I will try to help Spencer out a little bit - just a little bit - on the name issue. It's probably the media's fault that Spencer got teed off about that.
Kelley Elledge doesn't sign her emails or her checks with "Earnhardt" in the middle. When she became prominent in the DEI talks, though, people like me started inserting that name in there to identify her as the driver's sister. It sort of helps tie her role in to the stories we've done on the issue.
Spencer said that Elledge was displaying "ego" by using the Earnhardt name. In my dealings with Elledge, what I've found is precisely the opposite of that. She's not looking to make herself part of this story, at all. She's in it because her brother trusts her and wants her working on his behalf, and that's it.
Of course, this whole thing begs the question of whether you think Spencer is right or wrong in objecting to a woman using her maiden name after being married. I'll let you argue that one among yourselves.
On another topic, Associated Press writer Chris Jenkins wrote a story earlier this week about baseball honoring Jackie Robinson and wondering why NASCAR couldn't do the same for Wendell Scott.
Scott is the only black man to ever win a race in what's now the Nextel Cup Series. That happened at Jacksonville's Speedway Park on Dec. 1, 1963.
As far as I know, NASCAR hasn't officially announced the dates for this year's Cup banquet in New York City. But if tradition holds, it will be on the Friday at the end of the week after Thanksgiving. That would put the banquet on Nov. 30.
With all of the big-time sponsorship folks who'll be in New York that weekend, wouldn't it be nice to have some kind of special ceremony there that Saturday on the anniversary of Scott's win? Let young drivers in NASCAR's diversity programs come to New York, on NASCAR's dime, and meet the people who control the purse strings that might one day allow one of those people to follow in Scott's footsteps.
Just an idea.


SPK said...

Jimmy may be an oaf from Berwick, PA, but no matter what you think of him - he ruffles some feathers!

He's loud, sometimes funny, and always 100% honest. I'd rather watch Jimmy Spencer and wonder what he's gonna' say next the fall asleep to a Jimmy Johnson or Matt Kenseth interview in victory lane.

Monkeesfan said...

So maybe I'm not paying much attention, but I haven't found Kelly Earnhardt to be that good a negotiator. To have basically gotten nowhere after coming as far as they have in negotiations doesn't strike me as proficient negotiation by Ms. Earnhardt. It seems the media and a lot of fans are reflexively defending the Earnhardts because someone used harsh language to criticize them, and really, the reflexive defense of the Earnhardts needs to stop because we need some more objective analysis.

As for Wendell Scott and Jackie Robinson - I've never understood why MLB insists on these Jackie Robinson rememberences, especially turning them into the ridiculous spectacles they've become. As a Red Sox fan I've doubly had to put up with all those pieces lamenting how Tom Yawkey didn't hire black players until 1959, etc. as if he had some kind of moral obligation to do so - people forget that Jackie Robinson was hired on because his style of play filled a need his team had; it was the market and competition at work, not social engineering. Warren Moon, Steve McNair, and now Vince Young were signed by the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans because they all filled a need they had; it had nothing to do with social engineering. If NASCAR wants to do a special ceremony honoring Wendell Scott, do so to remember an independent driver who pulled off a win - and also honor other independents who overcame the odds like James Hylton, Lennie Pond, Dick Brooks, etc.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Spencer is Jimmy Spencer. A big guy with a big cee-gar, and a not so big brain. Heh, he's amusing and refreshingly blunt. We got way too many Wally Cleaver clones out there. We need Jimmy to counter the blah, blah, blah drone.

Anonymous said...

Good points David. However, I guess Jimmy could now be considered a member of the media- right?

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Spencer runs his rude mouth all of the time and has never justified his position in the public eye with any talent. Sorta like Rosie O'Donnell.

Anonymous said...

So the media is the reason I was upset with Mr. Spencer for criticizing Kelley for using Earnhardt. Thank you for clarifying that for us David. It would seem to be an easy way for the media to connect Kelley and Dale Jr.

However, unlike those that have commented previously, I am not a fan of Mr. Spencer. I understand he is entitled to his opinion, but he has to realize what century he is living in, and accept that some women, including myself, kept their maiden name.

And guess what. Women work in the the pits, too!

He is entitled to his opinion as to if a woman should change her name or not. BUT, to say Kelley Elledge has an "ego,” does not know how to negotiate a contract, and that Kelley does NOT have Jr's best interests at heart were totally ridiculous.

As long as Mr. Spencer has been involved in NASCAR, I would have thought he would have learned exactly what every loyal race fan has always known. That Kelley and Dale Jr. have done nothing but take care of each other all their lives.

Unlike the others who have posted, I can do without hearing Mr. Spencer and his tirades. I told myself during Speed Weeks this year that I was going to stop watching Race Day after Mr. Spencer was extremely critical of Michael Waltrip before any facts were even presented regarding his "incident" in Daytona.

But I love Wendy Venturini, John Roberts and the show in general. However, after the events during Race Day at Texas, and the lame "apology" during Victory Lane, I'll be turning on my Sirius Satellite radio a little sooner than planned and listening to pre- and post-race on channel 128.

David, I might not agree with everything you write or say on Morning Drive. But I accept your opinion because it is delivered with substance, fact and credibility and I appreciate that.

What I don’t appreciate is someone who is talking just to be heard, and saying something we all know is not true.

Thanks again for the clarification David. But that wasn’t the only reason this race fan was upset with Mr. Spencer. He has steadily increased my dislike for several years.


Anonymous said...

Who is Jummy Spencer to make personal comments on anyone? Did anyone ever look into his backround to see if he is qualified to make comments on anyone. People who live in glass houses better be careful who they throw stone at.

Anonymous said...

Why should they hve a special ceremony for Wendell Scott? We only perpetuate racial divide by continuing this sort of political correctness. We should honor no one just because the color of their skin. Let's try honoring those who have accompished something in the sport, not because they are black, white, green or blue for that matter.
As for Jimmy Spencer, nothing new. He made everyone mad when he was on the track and now in the booth. Nothing new.