While unveiling the new giant HDTV at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked about a variety of topics, including his take on NASCAR probation.
Both Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were fined $25,000 and placed on probation through June 15 for their post race altercation on pit road following Saturday night's Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
With many race fans - and media - still wondering exactly what probation means, Earnhardt weighed in as well:
“Probation doesn’t change the way you drive, because you’re still going to drive hard, and you’re still going to race as hard as you can. It’s obvious when things are intentional and things aren’t. As far I understand it, if you go out there and race hard … and say they get into the same situation that happened before the checkered flag (at Darlington) - I don’t think anything would happen to them. But if they go out of the box and do things that are detrimental, then I think the probation becomes a problem. When you’re a driver, you’re cognizant of that," he said.
"You can still race hard and get in your fair share of scrape-ups on the race track, when you’re racing. That’s part of the race in-between flags, but it’s the kind of things that happen after the race that I guess they don’t like.
“Probation works as it’s intended to work. I think that NASCAR wants you to do whatever you think you’re capable of doing in between the flags. They’ve really went to penalize someone for anything that happened between the green and the checkered flag. It’s always everything that happened after that. They’re not going to come and do a judgment call on what happened on the race track. There’s too many variables involved, and the drivers are there now to police themselves during that period."