I feel bad for ol' D.W.
I don't feel bad that he wasn't voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last week. That'll happen soon enough for everyone whose initials are not D.W.
No, I feel bad for Darrell Waltrip because by whining about his exclusion it makes him look like, well, a whiner. And he's better than that.
"My feelings are hurt," he told the Associated Press after he was snubbed for induction into the hall's second class. "Do I take it personal? No, I can't. I couldn't live in this community if I did. I take it as that a group of people that voted on those five guys had a stronger connection to their past and to those five guys than they did to me and what I did."
But Waltrip, a three-time series champion, did "take it personal," otherwise he wouldn't be telling anyone who will listen that he was wronged by the voting committee.
The 2011 class is made up of David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bud Moore.
The first class included Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson.
There was plenty of controversy when the inaugural class was announced and Pearson's name was not among the "original five."
Richard Petty won 200 races while Pearson had 105 checkers, making him the only NASCAR competitor other than "The King" to score triple digits in wins. I imagine it hurt Pearson to be left out of the first class, but he never made it an issue.
Waltrip, on the other hand, made a point to make it an issue.
Yes, he and Allison had the same number of victories (84). And frankly, I would've voted him in ahead of Ned Jarrett, who was elected last week despite having one less NASCAR title than Waltrip and 34 less trips to victory lane.
Then again Cale Yarborough didn't get enough votes, either, and he had 83 wins and three consecutive Cup championships.
D.W. spent the best days of his racing career developing a reputation as an arrogant hotshot. It didn't sit well with fans that liked their stars to at least feign humility.
It was only when he got older -- and stopped being a factor on the track -- that Waltrip became an elder statesman of the sport.
The arrogance was toned down considerably, and D.W. became more a ham -- a likable ham, but one who comes dangerously close to being a living, breathing parody.
Of course now a younger generation of fans know him as a silly announcer who likes to say "boogity, boogity" a lot even though it was never cute to begin with.
Maybe that, he wonders, cost him votes.
"All these people who say you'll get in sooner than later, well, I sure hope it's sooner cause this later stuff isn't much fun," Waltrip said.
Waltrip believes his past has come back to haunt him, even though it's more a case of his past coming back to tweak him.
I'll be surprised if he isn't part of the Class of 2012, and shocked if he's not on board by 2013.
In the meantime, here's hoping D.W realizes not everyone loves him quite as much as he loves himself.