NASCAR Year in Review: Earnhardt Disturbed with Waltrip After Twitter Incident

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IDecember 29, 2010

MOORESVILLE, NC - APRIL 29: Taylor Earnhardt, her mother Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO Dale Earnhardt Inc., Kelley Earnhardt, co-owner, JR Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr., co-owner of JR Motorsports and Richard Childress, owner of Childress Racing unveil the #3 Wrangler car that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive in the Nationwide race in Daytona later this year on April 29, 2010 in Mooresville, North Carolina. (Photo by Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images

The year in review has become a popular topic ever since the final award was handed out earlier in the month, with story after story being posted about some of the highlights throughout the 36 weeks it takes to complete a full NASCAR racing season.

There are numerous opinionated posts pertaining to the top-five, ten, and even top-20 all-time this or all-time that, which any Joe blogger can put together since all it takes is a few pictures, and 50 to 100 words to explain why they feel their opinion is set in stone.

Rather than tag along in the footsteps of those who chose to follow the epidemic, or as one writer told me, “I was told to write and post this in two days.”  

Because after all who am I to stand in the way of the fans and say which driver or team was the most interesting, overrated, or which ones are responsible for the success or the demise of NASCAR?  

I decided to take a different approach and post a story, which in fact had an impact on our sport as well as those who participated in this new internet craze throughout the season.

Social networking in NASCAR hit a new all-time high when the Twitter craze became contagious, and it was clearly visible by all the drivers and teams who logged on to keep their fans informed throughout the season.

Twitter became the backbone for many different reasons, and one of the biggest was to give the fans a glimpse of what goes on during a typical day in the life of their favorite driver.

The fans that flocked to Twitter were also given some good inside information on how each driver responds to different situations, which included members of the media who probably never realized just how many fans were actually tuned in.

Darrell Waltrip was one of those media members who learned the hard way, that social networking was a lot bigger than what he probably anticipated, when he leaked a story on his twitter page that drew National attention.

This incident was one of my favorites, and in no way am I trying persuade anyone to agree with me since we all have the right to choose what we like and don't like.

The Earnhardt family, along with Richard Childress, were was all set to move forward with a big announcement on Thursday, April 29, which was also the 59th birthday of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Finally after three years, the modern day Hatfield and McCoy feud between Teresa and Dale Jr. was going to be put on hold in time to deliver a message that took months of planning between the parties involved.

Announcements of this magnitude do not come very often, and they are carefully prepared to be broadcast to the fans at just the right time during the busy NASCAR season.

It wasn’t long before controversy surrounded the announcement, and it all began when senior writer Lee Spencer posted a story about Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving a No. 3 Wrangler Nationwide Series car at Daytona in July.

Richard Childress Racing, JR Motorsports, along with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in a joint effort, will breathe life back into a car that made the elder Earnhardt famous during his early career while driving in the Winston Cup Series.

Earnhardt won three championships with Wrangler as his sponsor in 1980, '86, and '87, before GM Goodwrench took over the primary role in 1988, with Earnhardt adding another four until his untimely death in 2001.

Foxsports television commentator Darrell Waltrip took the announcement from Spencer a step further, when he posted details of her article on, which didn’t settle to well with Earnhardt.

“We ain’t really got anything confirmed—DW blew the lid off of it on Twitter no less. That kind of ruined our announcement that we had planned,” said an upset Earnhardt after Waltrip broke the story on Twitter.

Earnhardt also added that, “We’re going to have our announcement here soon and explain to everybody what the whole program is about and how it came about and what’s going to happen. Its unfortunate DW uncovered that. We didn’t plan to announce it like this. We’ll do it when we had it originally planned.”

Twitter, which has become one of the biggest social networking sites on the web, can turn out to be a huge downfall to those persons who misuse it by tweeting confidential information.

Most of us who do utilize Twitter need to realize that there is always someone on the other end who is reading, and just like Waltrip you never know who that person is.

“Oh by the way, I did learn one thing, Twitter is a great way to get the word out, even people that don't have it know what’s on it," said Waltrip on his Twitter page.

Waltrip also added that, “Lesson learned be careful what you tweet, because you never know who is reading.”