Should Earnhardt Jr., Mears Be Penalized? NASCAR Says No

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IApril 20, 2009

CONCORD, NC - SEPTEMBER 23:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard AMP Chevrolet, speaks with Casey Mears, driver of the #5 Kelloggs Chevrolet, during NASCAR Sprint Cup testing at Lowes Motor Speedway on September 23, 2008 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)

Jamie McMurray has been penalized for it. So has Carl Edwards.

So the question is; should Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Casey Mears receive a fine or points loss for their tangle at this past Saturday's race at Phoenix International Raceway.

It was late in the race when the No. 07 of Mears made contact with Earnhardt, Jr.'s No. 88, who was leading at the time, sending him into the wall. Earnhardt, Jr. would make contact with Mears following the race on the "cool down" lap, in which Mears retaliated on pit road.

"I didn't mean to get together with Dale Jr. I think he was trying to save fuel and make it to the end without stopping, and I wheel-hopped the car getting into the corner and ended up making contact with him," Mears said following the incidents.

"I guess he was a little bent out of shape about it because he spun me out after the checkered flag."

It was salt to the wound that was Earnhardt Jr.'s night, which consisted of a separate spin earlier in the race and more bad pit stops to add to the others he's collected this season.

His 31st place finish was one of his first of the season; the only finish worse was a 38th at California.

NASCAR announced Monday, however, that penalties wouldn't be leveled against either team.

Fans and NASCAR alike say there's no "special" rules for Dale Jr., but what does it say about the sanctioning body about consistency if drivers like Jason Leffler, Kevin Harvick and others who have been penalized for the same thing?

Earnhardt, Jr. is currently 19th in points, and has just two top ten finishes for the season. 

What's your opinion? Should Dale Jr. or Mears, or both be penalized?

Thanks to Racing Reference, NASCAR Nuts & Bolts, ESPN, Auto Racing Daily and for the information and stats used in this piece.