One of the fastest ways to tell if someone has any idea of what they're talking about, NASCAR-wise, is if they wonder why everyone doesn't just turn everyone else on the way to the checkered flag. It'd be easy enough to do, wouldn't it? One little tap to the rear quarter panel, and you're on your way to a win, right?
Well, sure. It's easy to do, the same way it's easy to throw at Derek Jeter's head and put him on the DL for a month, the same way it's easy to chop at Peyton Manning's knee and wreck an entire team's season. Drivers don't spin other drivers because it's hard; drivers don't spin other drivers because there's a code of conduct, a code of honor. Winning by spinning is cheaper than winning by muscle and horsepower, cheaper by far.
That said, you can forgive Junior Nation for wanting a win, no matter how cheap, at the closing laps of last weekend's Martinsville race. Earnhardt discussed those closing laps at Texas, and it's clear that while he knows there's more he could have done, there's a line he wouldn't cross: spinning Harvick to get the win.
"I don't think that would have been the right thing to do, and I wouldn't want anybody to do that to me — just take me completely out of the race under any circumstances," he said. "I don't have a history of doing that ... I try to race respectful and I want the same in return. If it's near the end of the race, I expect to run hard and be aggressive and I expect the guys to race me hard and be aggressive. I think that's what went down this past weekend."
There's also the simple fact that even if you do spin someone, you might not automatically get the win. In the most famous late-spin of recent years, Kyle Busch's turning of Earnhardt in Richmond, Clint Bowyer scooted past both of them to take the checkers.
And Earnhardt noted that even if he'd wanted to turn Harvick, it wasn't exactly the easiest maneuver: "I wanted to try to get into him, but he didn't have much of a bumper to get into," he said. "So when I ran into him, it was like a pillow fight. There wasn't much to it. He just drove off the nose of my car and went about his way." (Love the understatement there.)
So there you have it; Earnhardt got outrun, plain and simple. But now we turn it over to you. Is there ever a case where turning a guy is fair game? Should Earnhardt have put the chrome horn to Harvick? Your take. Fire away.