Being a NASCAR team owner seems much like parenting, at least if you're taking Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s words to heart.
Earnhardt made a point to address Saturday's incident at Las Vegas between his driver Noah Gragson and Richard Childress Racing driver Myatt Snider on this week's episode of Dale Jr. Download podcast. Earnhardt said in-car cameras made it pretty obvious Gragson turned Snider intentionally so there's no point in arguing it. He'd rather his drivers learn from their experiences and determine better ways to handle situations.
"I'm not going to be hypocritical and [tell my drivers] don't ever wreck a guy, because I've done it. [Everyone] has different breaking points in what they're willing to put up with. They've got to learn from their experiences. Noah is going to learn how he should've handled it differently. Maybe he shouldn't have done it at all. I think it's a good experience for Noah to go through this."
Earnhardt said that taking ownership for your actions is ultimately what he's looking for out of his drivers.
"Once you're out of the car a few days down the road, don't try to make up some story. It's obvious to everyone what happened. Just own it and say, 'We were racing hard and some things happened on the track that maybe [viewers] didn't see', or 'Some things got under my skin, and he got the worst end of it,' You have to take some responsibility."
Co-host Mike Davis asked if Earnhardt feels obligated to reach out to Marty Snider, Myatt's father, considering they are friends and colleagues on NBC Sports' NASCAR coverage.
"No, but I feel it's inevitable that me and Marty will talk about it. I am of the opinion that I let the guys on the racetrack do what they do -- they drive the cars. Steve Letarte always did that [when he was my crew chief]. When people would go up to him about something I did on the racetrack, he'd say 'He's driving it, go talk to him.' I'm not telling [my drivers] what to do with the steering wheel... I just don't coach them to such strict standards that I feel responsible for what happened out there.
"I don't know what I would even say to Myatt or Marty or anybody in that situation. Maybe I would just say 'Look, the kid made a bad choice. He made a decision in the heat of the moment, and he has to work through it and figure it out. You guys handle it however you feel appropriate on your end. This happens in racing. It happens all the time. People do things they regret."
The entire conversation can be heard starting at 10:38 of Episode 286 -- Rick Mast: Just Glad To Be Alive.
-- Dirty Mo --