Friday, September 17, 2010

Where was the media outrage?

   At 2:15 p.m. Friday afternoon, several NASCAR media members had gathered in the media center at New Hampshire Motor Speedway waiting for the arrival of Kurt Busch for his scheduled media availability.

   They were still waiting at 2:30 p.m. And still at 2:45 p.m. (those who hadn't already left anyway). Busch was nowhere to be found, not even by NASCAR officials who attempted to track him down.

   Eventually NASCAR officials made an announcement that Busch would come in the media center following his qualifying attempt instead - no explanation offered.

   What is worse is no explanation was requested.

   Now think about this for a moment. If that had been Tony Stewart and he was scheduled to be in the media center at 2:15 p.m. and simply didn't show, can you imagine the outcry? At 2:16 p.m. there would be some media opening their laptops ready to fill their blank screens with musings of Stewart's disrespect and how NASCAR should hammer him mercilessly.

   Instead, the general consensus was a collective "Oh, well." And that's wrong.

   At the Bristol race, I said on Twitter that I thought some media members' dislike of Stewart was more personal than professional. And many disagreed with me. But let's look at the evidence.

   Busch simply didn't show for a scheduled media availability and were it not for NASCAR pointing out he would come in during qualifying, it probably would have gone unnoticed by many. If the rules should be touted and defended when Stewart breaks them, then it should be the same for every driver.

   Don't get me wrong. Stewart's actions are no more defensible than Busch's on Friday. My only point is one driver has been getting repeatedly raked over the coals for his conduct while others are left untouched for something at least as bad, if not worse.

   Now, that's personal.