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Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

I hear from fans all the time via e-mails, phone calls and seeing people out and about. I went to a meeting and gave a speech in Dallas on Wednesday, and people are talking about Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, after Carl confronted him following the Martinsville race. And I kind of get mixed messages. I'm not sure if fans really know what they want or not. They say they want emotion, and they want their drivers to have an attitude. They say they want their drivers to be themselves. What you saw after last Sunday's race is how we do business. That's how we handle things. The difference between now and a few years ago is increased media coverage. Back in the day, Richard Petty or Cale Yarborough may have confronted me after a race. Or Bobby Allison and I may have a disagreement. Me and Dale Earnhardt or me and Neil Bonnett. Me and Rusty Wallace. We always confronted each other and were up in each other's face after races. We usually weren't very happy with each other. But it was just our way of venting and letting the guy know we weren't happy with him. "What are you thinking, and why do you race that way?" When one driver confronts another driver after the race, he's never really mad. You get mad when the other guy starts making excuses. All you really want is the other guy to say, "Hey, I'm sorry, man. It was hard racing. I got into you. I'm sorry. I'll be a little more cautious next time." That's really all you're looking for.

But when the other guys starts to make excuses — "Well, you hit me, and you did this and that." — then, that's when the tempers start to fly and things escalate a little bit. It's just like listening to our radios during a race, which is private domain. That's us in our little world communicating with our team and our crew chief about what we're doing. It's a privilege to listen to team communications. In no other sport can you stick a camera in somebody's face during and immediately after an event. No other sport allows you to listen to conversations between the coach and players like we do. So when guys get upset,and they show it on TV, that's just NASCAR. It's what made us who and what we are. I'd just ask you to consider the fact that that's the way we do business. It's like rules. People complain about the way rules are enforced. Hey, that's the way we do it. I would just ask you to consider accepting the way we do things rather than always complaining about them and trying to change them. There are things that all of us probably would like to see done differently. But we also know that this is our culture and our environment. I say it all the time. We're a big family. We're just dysfunctional, and dysfunctional familes have disagreements. At Martinsville, two family members had a disagreement. Unfortunately, all of the neighbors were watching.

Oh, by the way

Yeah, I'm a Carl fan. I thought he might have had a shot at winning both the Busch and Cup championships. I'm not making any excuses for him, and you never condone anything that's out of line. But I didn't see where Carl was out of line at Martinsville. That's the reason I'm telling you what I'm telling you. Carl and Matt are friends of mine. Matt is on the board of directors of Motor Racing Outreach. He's a sweet and good guy, but all of us have issues. Sometimes, they boil over. Between what happened with Matt and Carl in the Kansas Busch race, and some other things that have been happening, they just finally had to get it all out on the table. Don't condemn either one of them, and don't be too hard on either one of them. It's just two guys under a lot of pressure after a long race, letting off a little steam.

Gordon focused on title

I was coming home from California on Sunday so I didn't get to see any of the Martinsville race. You'll love this, folks. I left Los Angeles, just as the race was about ready to start. I flew all the way back to Nashville, and Stevie and I drove home to see the last few laps of the Cup race. When you fly all the way from California to Tennessee, then drive to Franklin in your car and see the end of the race, that's a pretty long day and a pretty long race right there. Ryan Newman moved Jeff Gordon out of the way, and I'm sure I'm not the only that noticed old Jeffy was driving pretty conservatively. He gave Newman and Jimmie Johnson. You could tell that he's really focused on the championship, and he sure didn't want to do anything to jeopardize his fifth title or take himself out the race. Jeff's sitting in the catbird seat right now. Jimmie's got a fast hot rod, but he's going to have to really turn up the wick if he's going to make up 53 points. Clint Bowyer slid back a little bit more, but you've still got to give him credit. He's getting those top 10's. The problem is the competition is getting top fives, but the No. 07 is still doing a great job. I'm impressed with how he's hung in there and kept himself close enough that Gordon and Johnson have to worry about him.

Fast future on fun track

Folks, I went to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway last weekend, and the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown was another one of those must-see events. It was fun to be there and watch these young, talented kids. I had seen Joey Logano in TV, and I knew what a talent he was and will be in the future. But to go to a racetrack like Irwindale — where you can just run all over the place, four or five-wide if you'd like — and see this kid operate, you could see him get his car a little better throughout Saturday night. There were two 100-lap segments, and then a 50-lap shootout. When they got to the final 50 laps, you could see it coming. He just kept laying there, getting his car a little bit better, and he had the car to beat at the end of the night.

Ask DW

I felt sorry for the young kid from New Hampshire, pole-sitter Sean Caisse. Andy Santerre is his crew chief, and they had a dominant car. Unfortunately, he got taken out by a lapped car. Our jaws dropped when that happened. We didn't see it coming. Caisse was just lapping cars and going through the field. He had such a good car, and he wasn't pushing or taking any chances. He came off of Turn 4, and it looked like Moses Smith — in a car that Caisse had just passed — got into the back of Caisse a little bit and turned him into the inside wall to take him out. Otherwise, the Busch East driver probably had the car to beat. Mike Duncan runs in the West Series with crew chief Bill Sedgwick, who drove my Craftsman Truck for a year or so when I had my first truck team with DieHard. Duncan is a good kid, and they had a great car with what's got to be the world's biggest No. 9. I never saw a 9 so big on the side of a car. It came down to Logano and Peyton Sellers at the end of the race. Sellers reminded me a lot of what short track racing across America is all about. He and his brother have worked hard to put a car together. They've had a great year, and to come out of Irwindale with a second-place finish, that's pretty impressive. All in all, it was a fun race. I'm glad I was there. I got to do TV with Dr. Dick Berggren and Mike Joy on SPEED. It was good to get back behind the mic and in front of the TV. I was the grand marshal and got to send everybody off on their way with a little "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity! Let's go racin', boys and girls!" That's because Michelle Theriault was in the race, driving another buddy of mine Jeff Spraker's car. Donnie Richardson from Owensboro was there. I got to see a bunch of my old buddies who are still doing their Saturday night thing. That was kind of fun to see. I hope Michelle is OK because she had a pretty hard crash, and they had to take her out in an ambulance. I heard they treated and released her, but she was giving it a good go. She just got into trouble, got in a wreck and hit the wall pretty hard.

Tagged: Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Peyton Sellers, Sean Caisse

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