On-air curse could cost Earnhardt Jr. points
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. took over the NASCAR Nextel Cup points lead with a popular victory in Sunday's EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, but he faces a possible penalty for cursing during the post-race television interview.
During the interview in Victory Lane with NBC's Matt Yocum, Earnhardt Jr. was asked what it meant to win for the fifth time at Talladega. Earnhardt Jr. replied, "It don't mean s--- right now. Daddy's won here 10 times."
NBC later issued an apology for the inappropriate language. After several media requests, NASCAR is reviewing the post-race videotape, according to spokesman Mike Zizzo. Any penalty would be handed down Tuesday at the earliest, Zizzo said.
There is precedence for Earnhardt Jr. being fined and/or docked points. Two Busch Series drivers were penalized for inappropriate language earlier this season.
Ron Hornaday was fined $10,000 and docked 25 points for "use of inappropriate language" during a live radio interview during a Busch race at Dover in June. Also, Johnny Sauter was penalized the same amount of money and points for the same infraction after a Busch race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.
Earnhardt Jr. pleaded his case in the Talladega press box later Sunday.
"I hope they understand it was in jubilation," Earnhardt Jr. "I know that me and those other guys that got fined let it slip, but it's two different circumstances.
"When you're happy and joyous about something and it happens, it's different than being angry and cursing in anger. Of course, we don't want to promote that.
"But if a guy's in Victory Lane, jumping up and down and lets a 's---' slip out, I don't think that's something we need to go hammering down on."
Earnhardt Jr. leads Kurt Busch by 13 points after Sunday's race, with Jeff Gordon third, 61 points behind.
NASCAR president Mike Helton warned drivers at Daytona in February to watch their manners after the Federal Communications Commission began a crackdown of profane behavior resulting from the Super Bowl halftime show, where singer Janet Jackson had her breast exposed on live television.
The FCC hit CBS with more than $500,000 in fines for the incident
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If Jr. doesn't get fined the s--- will hit the fan. I don't think he should. I didn't hear the Hornaday or Sauter incidents so I can't comment. If theirs wasn't a whole string of expletives or a ranting outburst but just a slip in the heat of the moment, then they shouldn't have been hit hard either.