Sunday, April 15, 2007

RaceDay On SPEED: Jimmy Spencer Goes Off!


During this season, RaceDay has been the best NASCAR-themed television show on any cable or broadcast network, hands down. This two hour extravaganza plays host to very serious discussions of NASCAR issues one minute, then features Kenny Wallace completely goofing on something ridiculous. Earlier this season, The Daly Planet referred to it as "Speed-a-palooza." Host John Roberts and reporter Wendy Venturini have established themselves as top TV professionals in the sport through their performance on this series.

Normally, Jimmy Spencer knows his place. As a retired driver with a questionable reputation, Spencer is a great foil for both Kenny Wallace and the numerous guests that appear on the program. He has kept himself well-informed, and grown into a much better television personality with each passing season.

On Sunday, Wendy Venturini presented an excellent two-part feature on Max Siegel, the new President of Global Operations for DEI. During the report, Mr. Siegel and Venturini mentioned Dale Junior's sister Kelley, who is his agent and business manager. It is no secret that getting the two Earnhardt "camps" together is Siegel's key goal. The end of the report led back to the set, where Jimmy Spencer waited. Then, all hell broke loose. And Jimmy Spencer may wind-up regretting it.

"Theresa Earnhardt gave Dale Junior his opportunity to race." It was with those ominous words that Spencer began his comments. After making sure that Junior knew his place, Spencer moved on to Dale's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge. "I am shocked that she kept her middle name. Why keep Earnhardt? I think her ego is so big and she is backing Theresa and Max (Siegel) into corners. She's not a good negotiator. If she was working for someone else they would probably fire her."

Spencer continued his comments with "I think she is using ego to control this direction, and Dale needs to be careful about it." Now done with Kelley, Spencer switched his aim back to Dale Junior, and was very eager to invoke the name of Dale Earnhardt Sr. as the basis of his argument.

"There are a lot of true Dale Earnhard Sr. fans who will lose respect for Dale Junior (if he leaves DEI)." Spencer stated "I don't think Dale Junior needs to leave the organization. I don't like what Kelley (Elledge) is doing...how she is putting them (Theresa and Siegel) in corners."

Spencer closed with "Dale and Theresa and Max need to sit down and get this worked out. If the old man was still living, he would kick Earnhardt (Junior's) butt. I would hate to see that organization fall apart."

Whatever Spencer's motivation, his attack on Kelley Elledge was poorly timed. It has been well-documented that she had just undergone serious surgery, and is in the process of recovering. While she was on-hand at the opening of JR Motorsports new shop this week, she is far from full strength. In addition, RaceDay has always gone out of the way to be fair to all parties involved in NASCAR issues. This time, there was no Earnhardt Junior or Kelley Elledge standing by with Wendy Venturini to address this discussion. Had they been there, Spencer may have been singing a completely different tune.

I believe we have not heard the end of the reaction to these comments on national television. If the print media takes the ball and runs with it, there may be bigger issues on the horizon for Jimmy Spencer than his apparent hatred for Junior's sister.

UPDATE 9PM EASTERN TIME SUNDAY 4/15/07: On the Victory Lane program airing Sunday night at 8PM on SPEED, Jimmy Spencer issued an apology to Dale Earnhardt Junior's sister, Kelley Elledge. In reference to the comments detailed above, Spencer said he "kind of took it personal and he is sorry for what he said to Kelley." From this quote, I believe we can assume that Spencer felt he was somehow representing the interests of Dale Earnhard Sr. in his commentary during the RaceDay program. We can only see what repercussions these strong comments, and this brief apology, have on both the Earnhardt family and the fans.

12 comments:

Karen said...

Wow! I think that Jimmy Spencer really overstepped his bounds with his comments about this whole situation (and I'm usually a Jimmy Spencer fan and agree with most of his opinions). First off, none of will ever know how Dale Sr. would have felt about this situation because he isn't here to vocalize his opinion. I also believe that people in the media should really avoid attacking someone's personal choices (as was Jimmy's opinion about Kelly's option to keep her maiden name as part of her name). In point of fact, if Dale Sr. were alive, this situation wouldn't even be happening (in my opinion) because Dale Jr. wouldn't feel the need to have control of situation because someone that he, Dale Jr., loved and trusted would be at the helm of the company that he worked for. As far as Dale Jr. losing the respect of Dale Sr.'s fans, I don't think that has any bearing either. Everyone who was a Dale Sr. fan has different reasons for cheering for Dale Jr. Myself, I was a Dale Jr. fan from the time that he begain driving a late model stock car back in North Carolina and he gained even more of my respect when he stepped up to the plate to be a very sad, but mature young man when the man that he idolized died very suddenly doing something that they both loved. I think it is very shocking and sad that Jimmy Spencer felt it was necessary to personally attack Kelly Earnhardt Elledge and I think the she deserves an apology for his very personal attack .... If I were him, I would avoid the pits of the 8 team for a while!

toro rosso 83fan said...

How does Jimmy Spencer keep that job? He is unproffesional and constantly talks out of both sides of his mouth(when he is not talking out of other body parts) I do not watch this show anymore because of him.

RacerX said...

First of all, he keeps his job because he says stuff like that. The media loves controversy and they will pay through the nose to find someone who can toe the line of decency without tripping over it (Don Imus). But I do agree that Jimmy’s comments were way off base. First of all, if Dale Sr. were still with us and in control of DEI, Junior would not feel that he needed control to ensure the proper direction of the team. In my opinion, Junior wants majority control because he believes his vision for DEI is closer to the one his father had in comparison to Theresa’s vision. I don’t think for a minute that he wants control so he can get more money. And you cannot gauge the success of a negotiator until the negotiations are complete. I believe that when the dust clears, Junior is going to get exactly what he asked for.

bamaheart2 said...

I think Jimmy did right. He called it as he saw it. No other team plays contract issues out in the media and that was the whole purpose of his comments. Dale JR and Kelley both are being spoiled little brats. There are 4 kids in this family. And they are playing on the fans to get pressure put on Teresa and Max. That will backfire. I have lost alot of respect for JR as of late with so many pictures being posted about his life and party and drinking with underage girls at Whiskey River. And the bad point is Kelley is in alot of these pictures. JR does not surround himself with the most qualified people personal or professional. No one wants to see the driver drunk, partying and shooting birds to everyone with a camera much less his famous shocker sign. He needs to keep his private life off the internet and make sure his friends do the same. If he wants ownership, grow up and act like a 32 year old professional. Not some frat boy.
People need to look at JR closely before they jump in his corner. I have been and always will be a Dale Sr fan. I was hoping Jr would show the same class.
Both Jr and Kelley are playing the sympathy card in a lot of this and it just want work in alot of ways.
For those doubters check out the flickr website for pictures. You will find plenty to open you eyes with.

GinaV24 said...

I understand that controversy is the name of the game with the media these days, but some of the uninformed spouting off that goes on with these shows is a real turnoff for me. Sometimes Spencer and Wallace are funny and sometimes their form of humor (like some of the other shock jocks) just wears thin. Spencer does talk out of both sides of his mouth depending on who is around when he's talking. He could also try and come into the 21st century -- lots of married women keep their maiden names -- its not a real big deal unless you are dealing with someone who has such a fragile male ego that he can't handle it. My opinion -- Dale Sr established DEI for his family -- all of them and Junior is the primary focus of that organization these days. Maybe he's capable of running it, maybe not, but I can see why he wants to make sure that he AND his other family members have a say in how things are run.

Anonymous said...

I think bamaheart2 hit it right on the head..The pathetic thing is in this day and age.People can't speak their opion without fear..Jimmy was right about 90% of what he said..But guess people can't handle truth..Dale Jr is a good driver.But no means what he is hyped up to be.There are too many people living their Dale Sr dream through him. And lets be real does he really need his sister to talk for him.If hes so bright why not just do his own talking. I think its pathetic that they are trying to gain 51% in the first place. This is a guy that has not even won a chapionship.While his the best of the 2nd teir drivers hes not even in the same class as Jeff G,Tony S,Jimmy J,Matt K.. And Karen get a grip you think a person is mature who does nothing but drink all the time..Has a bar in their basement that he throws parties all the time for..Gets drunk in public and acts a fool..This is mature..hmmm What are you his sister posting this blog undercover...

Cheryl said...

First, DEI was established by Dale and Teresa. They have always been listed as co-owners. The company was started two years before they were married. Teresa has had a big of stake in this company as Dale Dr. did. Had the company gone bust you can bet she had as much to lose. Who knows where it would be if Dale Sr was still living. I know many women that keep there maiden names, but they utilize them as there last names. I was once told by a college professor to retain your maiden if you married after establishing yourself professionally. I see very few who go around saying my name is Jane Doe Blank. If she said Hi, I am Kelly Ellredge who would know who she is. I think Kelly is using hers so you know she is an Earnhardt.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Excitement" has always been "Mr. Two-Face" (witness his critical comments when Michael Waltrip failed to qualify on time for the Daytona 500 vs. how bubbly he became after Waltrip raced his way in); now it looks like he's becoming "Mr. Liability." His insincere apology may as well have included the phrase, "They told me to say this."

Anonymous said...

So, just because she's recovering from surgery means she's not allowed to be criticized? Please. Let's get over being a bunch of sissies.

Anonymous said...

Kelley sure is doing the interviews right and left for the cause. And was at the opening. Recovering nicely it seems.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy spoke the truth. As a long time Dale Sr fan I'm very disappointed in his kids. I think their ego's are cloudung their views. They have forgotten their father's vision and integrity.

Anonymous said...

I think Sr. left the company to Teresa, because he was expecting Jr. would leave any way. The problem is Jr. doesn't actually want to leave. Trying to run a company while your racing doesn't work too well any more. Just ask Waltrip and Petty. I know they don't have near the talent, but still it can be a distraction. I believe Teresa was more or less running DEI (especially day to day operations) when Sr. was still alive anyways. Look at what Harvick and Jr. have done already with their teams. Delana pretty much runs KHI and Kelley pretty much runs JR motorsports. Does anyone else think if Jr. had signed with Hendrick or Gibbs last go round, he would quite likely have a championship under his belt at this point? But it is hard to leave your father's legacy.

P.S. I think the whole idea of running for RCR is out the window, because who knows if Childress will still be in the game when junior is ready to retire. His father's team effectively is no more, so I think the idea is mute (Although he may change car numbers with whatever team he has at that point). I think the non-point races or April 30/May 1st race for the 2011 could be an idea (Sr. would have turned 60 and if the schedule stays the same for that day it would be at 'Dega)