Time for a No Tolerance

A DUI is one of the worst offenses a NASCAR driver can have. Drivers who are suppose to set an example on how to drive correctly and safely, driving under the influence and risking people’s lives. Add that to a fan base that doesn’t see brushes with the law much, a DUI is unacceptable.

[media-credit name=”michaelannett.com” align=”alignright” width=”181″][/media-credit]The latest ordeal of a DUI in NASCAR belongs to 24 year old Michael Annett, who currently races in the Nationwide Series for Rusty Wallace Inc. Annett was pulled over early Sunday morning with a blood alcohol content of .32, four times the legal limit. This is one of a few incidents NASCAR drivers have had with drinking and driving.

Though never convicted of any wrong doing, Michael Waltrip found himself in two situations in the last 4 years. The most recent one said that Waltrip blew a .06, under the legal limit after Waltrip collided with a motorcycle at an intersection. The other incident however, ended up with Waltrip wrecking his SUV early in the morning and walking home in his socks. When police found Waltrip in his home the next morning, he blew a .06, under the legal limit. Both incidents saw no action taken by NASCAR.

AJ Allmendinger was stopped for a DWI. Allmendinger who blew .08. Allmendinger was placed on probation by the sport until Dec. 31. 

Now here is Michael Annett, a 24 year old driver whose career has had its ups and downs. He moved from Germain Racing to Rusty Wallace Incorporated for the 2011 season. Annett situation is very similar to something NASCAR has seen before.

For folks who remember, 1990 was a devastating year for the sport. That’s when rising star 21 year old Rob Moroso was killed in a similar situation to Annett’s. Moroso was killed when his motorcycle veered into oncoming traffic. Both Moroso and the victim in the other car were killed due to the incident. The autopsy revealed that Moroso’s BAC was .22, which at the time was two times over the legal limit of .10. Moroso’s story is a perfect example of a promising young life and career thrown away by stupidity.

NASCAR has a zero tolerance for drugs, now it’s time for a zero tolerance with DUI’s. NASCAR is one of the few sports left without the problems of their players getting in trouble with the law. Baseball, football and basketball have all had their troubles with players breaking the law; no one wants to see NASCAR get like that.

It’s time for NASCAR to nip this in the bud. Stop putting it in the owner’s hands to suspend drivers. Suspending Michael Annett would be good for him and the sport. It’s time for John Darby and Robin Pemberton to step up and do the right thing.

A no tolerance is called for. Not only would the sport benefit from it, but it would make everyone stop doing it. In the NFL, if you are out at a bar and you feel like you have had too much to drink you can call a number and the league will send a limo to pick you up and bring you back to the hotel room. If a player is found guilty of DUI they receive a four to six game suspension. Why should NASCAR be any different?

I am not even asking for that. Annett easily could have called a cab on his way home Sunday. Instead, he did the careless act. Annett wasn’t only careless for himself and the other drivers on the road, but careless to his fans, family and the sport all together.

It’s time for these drivers to grow up and realize how good they have it. Some make millions to drive a car everyweek. This writer and a lot of readers alike, would kill to have that chance. Acts like that show they don’t care.

Rusty Wallace is in a touch situation. Pilot Travel Centers is Annett’s main sponsor for 2011, a company that has supported Annett throughout his career. If Rusty Wallace suspends the driver he may not have sponsorship for his second car something that may kill a small owner like Wallace.

NASCAR can do it though. Dave Moody has said it best “NASCAR can do whatever they want.” Thank you!  It’s time for John Darby, Robin Pemberton, Mike Helton and Brian France to step up to the table and show that there is integrity in this sport and acts like that will not be tolerated, before we have another Rob Moroso incident to deal with.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. “If Rusty Wallace suspends the driver he may not have sponsorship for his second car something that may kill a small owner like Wallace.”

    Who cares? Wallace has already been in the spotlight. Let him pick his team better next time.

  2. That’s right Nascar can do what they want. And that’s why they give a slap on the wrist to teams/owners/drivers that Nascar has a vested interest in, and take others through the ringer that Nascar doesn’t like or doesn’t make money for them. My guess is that because Rusty and a big name sponsor is involved, Nascar will give him a slap on the wrist and he will be driving in Daytona next weekend.

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