You've seen their comments on message boards. You've seen their gripes on race day chats. You've heard them complain on talk radio. They all say the same thing, that they DON'T watch races. But how can they know so much about races if they don't watch them. Spade Racing sent intrepid reporter Scott Wilson out to investigate.
We listened to talk radio, scanned message boards, reviewed chat logs for weeks. It led us to two conclusions: That Dale Earnhardt Jr. is either the greatest driver of all-time or somewhere between Bobby Hillin and Billy Standridge, and that certain complainers never watch races. Of course, this begs the question of how someone could know what was going on in the sport, or even bother to follow the sport, without watching the races on TV. We set up a sting operation to find out.
While listening to "RaceFans Radio", a weekly show on SportsTalk WRDX, we heard a caller identified as "Earl from Greenville" say that he hadn't watched a race since the Car of Tomorrow was introduced. "Earl" then proceeded to complain about Darrell Waltrip focusing too much on Dale Earnhardt Jr., which piqued our interest. Thanks to the good folks at the radio station, we were able to contact "Earl" through the radio station's website, where he had posted frequently about how much Dale Earnhardt Jr. "sux".
Posting regularly as "JunyaH8REarl", he appeared to have a working knowledge of the sport today, despite repeated claims that he never watched races. Through a number of private messages, we gained "Earl"'s trust, and finally were able to track down his home address. The trap was now set.
On a recent Saturday Night we noticed that "Earl" was posting online about how much the All-Star Race "sux" because of drivers hanging back after winning segments. We asked in a private message if he was listening on the radio, he replied "No man". At this point our camera crew and I burst into "Earl"'s house, where we found him watching the race on Speed Channel.
We attempted to ask "Earl" (whose name we weren't able to confirm) how he could claim that he doesn't watch races when he actually does, but he refused to comment, instead screaming "Who the hell are you?", and "Mom, some guys broke into our house!" repeatedly. "Earl"'s mother then chased us out of the house with a broom.
In the days following our meeting, we attempted to contact "Earl" several times to no avail. Eventually, he did reply, stating that "…yah, I watch the race but i dont pay attention". However, he posted comments about how there probably really wasn't debris on the track during that caution period.
Thank you Scott for that incisive investigation. Next time, a look at drivers who CLAIM to go "all-out", when they actually go "all-in".