Dale Earnhardt Jr will go into possibly the most important race of his career witohut a familiar voice in his ear after NASCAR suspended his spotter Steve Hmiel.

Hmiel, director of motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc was sent home on Saturday morning after allegedly
making disparaging remarks about series officials over the radio during Friday's Truck Series race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Hmiel was spotting for his son, Shane, when he became angry about a ruling against him.

NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said that series president Mike Helton had called Hmiel into a meeting on Saturday morning and suspended him.

"It showed complete disrespect for NASCAR and its officials, so after a meeting with Mike Helton, he was sent home for the weekend," said Zizzo.

Hmiel was not available for comment.

to take his first Nextel Cup title in Sunday's finale Earnhardt needs to make up 72 points over current leader Kurt Busch.