Allmendinger’s DUI charge will be a wake-up call for driver
Out to dinner with family or friends, and you have a few drinks. Then, you have to decide whether that few drinks was too much, or if you’re OK to drive.
Allmendinger was right at the .08 limit when he was pulled over, and now he is facing a court date, plus probation until the end of the year from NASCAR.
Allmendinger says he was OK to drive, and I believe him. But the law says what’s legal, and he just barely crossed that line.
Long against using alcohol himself, Richard Petty was of course not very happy with the news, saying "I am deeply disappointed this has happened. AJ has accepted full responsibility for his actions and will work to make this right. On behalf of everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports we sincerely apologize to our fans and partners." (Of course, he lives with Bud sponsoring driver Kasey Kahne, but that’s not really his call anymore.)
In the grand scheme of things, is this a big deal? No. Allmendinger didn’t get bombed and plow into a bunch of people on the road or anything crazy like that. But it goes to show that when you are a driver for a living, you have to be careful about how you drive in real life, and what you drink before you drive. (Insert your Michael Waltrip joke here).
Whether fair on not, drivers’ actions off the track will influence how the people in the sport and the fans view you when you come to the track. One time is no big deal. Keep it up, and you’ve got a problem. For example, anyone seen Jeremy Mayfield lately?
And if fans want to look at this Allmendinger through their own prism, just look at your life. Almost all of us have an experience at some point of drinking a little bit too much, then debating whether to drive. Best bet? Be safe and don’t push your luck. Pick up your car the next day if you need to … it’s often safer than driving.
It’s possible you’ll make it home alive and not get pulled over either. But it’s also possible that you could have some seriously bad stuff happen on the way home.
Is it worth it? Probably not.
Regular folks have enough to lose from this type of bad decision, and an up-and-coming driver like Allmendinger has all that plus a potential bright career he doesn’t want to throw away.
Let’s just say I have a feeling he might let a buddy drive next time. This isn’t the end of the world for A.J., but it will likely be a strong wake-up call.