Out of Control: NASCAR Fails to Keep Drivers in Line Away from Speedway

Enrique MoralesContributor IOctober 29, 2009

MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 23: AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #44 Coleman Natural Foods Dodge, looks on in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 23, 2009 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

It's no big deal.

I'm in control.

Any of these phrases sound familiar?  Ever thought them?

AJ Allmendinger certainly did.

Unfortunately, he won't be paying the price for them.

While the legal system has charged the former Champ Car ace with DUI, the leading stock car sanctioning body in North America has simply slapped the Richard Petty Motorsports driver on the wrist with probation (as if that's ever meant anything in NASCAR's rulebook).

Here's another phrase, this one aimed towards the National Assocation for Stock Car Auto Racing.

Tammy Williams.

Fortunately, the consequences of Allmendinger's actions were not quite so severe as those of promising young gun Rob Moroso.

Unfortunately, the risk is always there when one chooses to drive while impaired by a drug, and NASCAR has no intentions of doing anything about it.

Some will argue that it isn't NASCAR's responsibility to monitor the personal lives of the drivers.

In reality, it is.

In a sport where the drivers are the faces of the series, negative actions can only lead to malevolent press for the popular motorsport league.

More importantly, in a sport where the drivers are idolized by young children, there is no room for racers who choose to set terrible examples for future operators of motor vehicles.

The law obviously could not deter men like Allmendinger and Michael Waltrip from making one of the worst decisions they could have made.

NASCAR could have.

Giving AJ a weekend off to think about what he did, who he put at risk, and whose lives he could have changed forever had things occurred differently in many all-to-real scenarios would leave an impression.

Actions need consequences.

There is no right or wrong if everything is accepted as "well, that's fine, we all make mistakes."

AJ Allmendinger's actions are inexcusable, and only NASCAR have the ability to correct them and set an example for others involved in the sport

NASCAR may think that it's no big deal, or that they're in control when it comes to handing out penalties for incidents away from the track.

Much like Allmendinger and Waltrip, they couldn't be more wrong.