Monday, November 03, 2008

A Rough 24 Hours for a Gilliland Fan!

It has indeed been pretty rough to be a fan of David Gilliland during the last 24 hours. As the whole of the NASCAR world knows, there was an altercation between David and Juan Pablo Montoya that resulted in David turning Montoya into the wall.

During the Dickies 500, I was deeply engrossed in the Raceview rendition of's Trackpass, listening to David's scanner and watching the graphic cars as they moved around the track. I was also in a chat room, and since the ABC broadcast was in a commercial break at the time, I was fully focused on Raceview.

I was shocked to see the 42 approach David, and hit David in the rear several times. Gilliland tried moving out of the way, and JPM kept hammering on him. I 'saw' the wreck. Shocked, I relayed the information to the others in the chat room, and we waited for the return of the broadcast, completely stunned.

The broadcast confirmed what I saw, with an exception. They only showed David taking his shot, not what led up to it.

At this point, I MUST make a statement. David's reaction to JPM may have been over the top. I had already cautioned some of the chat room members, earlier in the race, to not wish anyone to be wrecked, as this track has such high speeds, it could be disastrous.

It is very hard to admit that a favorite driver may have made an error in judgment. It was even harder to listen to the post-race shows on Sirius, as David was being viciously hammered by the fans who were calling in. I finally did something I never do, I turned the receiver off, as I could not bear to listen to it any longer. I woke up this morning, still heart-sick, hearing almost non-stop negative comments on The Morning Drive. Again, very hard!

The next show, Tradin Paint, suddenly seemed like a breath of fresh air. It went 90 minutes without caller comment on the situation, and when the first one called in expressing displeasure with David, Steve Post and Chocolate Myers were steadfast in the statement that David had served his penalty. They felt that if there were to be further sanctions, then JPM deserved to be sanctioned too, as JPM admitted to contacting David. They also said that this action was totally unlike David, and they really like him. I heard similar comments from Moody and Gang on the Sirius Speedway. I also discovered that Carl Edwards jumped to David's defense! Thank you, Carl!

Then, this evening, Tony Stewart Live really shocked me. I mentally had to prepare myself that Tony could roast David. Tony did not do so! He commented that David would not have turned JPM without cause. He illustrated some of the issues that Tony himself has experience with JPM, which were surprisingly similar to the incident in Texas. In fact, when Kyle Petty joined Tony, they talked about the fact that JPM has been so fired up after being in incidents with Kevin Harvick, and others....that the fact that JPM's post race rant was so calm, it could indicate that JPM knew exactly why he was turned.

So far, it appears that an equally great crime may be that David made it look too blatant. So many drivers can turn another, and then with a glint in their eye, declare "Gosh, I hate it that it happened!" Some fans of drivers who have ironically had their own sessions in the "Oval Office" have been the first to jump on the Dump on David bandwagon. Even Jimmy Spencer jumped all over David on his Victory Lane show on Speed. The man who 'never forgets' apparently forgot that he turned Kurt Busch at Indy in 2003.

I do find it comforting that after 24 hours, some of David's peers are stating they understand why it happened, and have declared that this is totally out of character for David. Those of us who have met David know that he is a bit shy, not the least arrogant, and really wants to succeed. His temperament is usually calm, and I think in the whole of the season, I have only heard him curse once, which was immediately followed by an apology to his team. He works side by side with his team at the shop, and his scanner chatter with his team is usually clear and concise.

Again, I am not condoning what David did. But I do appreciate that it took a lot to have David snap like that. And I can't help but believe, that if it was a rough 24 hours for David's fans, then it had to be hell for him. I only hope that Doug Yates and Max Jones stand by David, as he has stood by them during their struggle to rebuild the Yates Racing teams.