I believe the driver has main control. He can deny or he can admit to a problem
He (or, please sometimes she) has the reins and the responsibility to make an intelligent call. It stands directly on the driver - no one else. In the Earnhardt case, he finally made a good decision to sit out some races. And, he should be credited with that proper resolution.
I find no reason whatsoever to discredit NASCAR.
For those in the anti-auto-racing media allow me to offer this: You know not this sport; you have not the slightest clue. Go play your little 'stick and ball' game garbage somewhere else.