Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fallout from Richmond fracas carries over to Darlington

Saturday, May 7, 2011

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) ? Tempers were still raging Friday between Juan Pablo Montoya (FSY) and Ryan Newman (FSY), who had a heated discussion at Darlington Raceway about an extended on-track feud.

Both drivers tried to downplay their latest flare-up in their morning media sessions, but a later meeting moderated by NASCAR did not go well. The two were called in to discuss their actions last Saturday night at Richmond, where Newman wrecked Montoya early in the race, and Montoya later retaliated by intentionally crashing Newman.

"We did have a meeting with both Ryan and Juan relative to their incident, and we made it clear to them that this is their final warning. We also made it clear to them that we will be watching them very closely," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said.

"The meeting did not go as well as we had hoped it would."

NASCAR told the two drivers the discussion is not finished.

Next up is Saturday night's event at Darlington Raceway, where the short fuses that highlighted the Richmond race could again come into play.

Showtime Southern 500

When: Saturday 7 p.m. ET, Fox

Where: Darlington Raceway

Race distance: 501.3 miles/367 laps

Forecast: Clear; high, 80; low, 60

2010 winner: Denny Hamlin

First race: Sept. 4, 1950

Although Kyle Busch (FSY) and Denny Hamlin (FSY) had an uneventful 1-2 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing last weekend, much of the excitement came further back in the field.

Martin Truex Jr. (FSY) and Kurt Busch (FSY) directed expletive-laden rants at their crews over their in-car radios, and both got the results they desired. Truex has four new pit crewmembers after his team botched the final stop at Richmond, and Busch said there's been behind-the-scenes personnel shuffling at Penske Racing that has him hopeful his complaints have been heard.

Busch acknowledged Friday it may not have been the best way to deliver his message, but he was confident his meltdown had finally achieved results.

"Yeah, it wasn't the best forum to go out there on Saturday night and talk about things," Busch said. "In my mind, to see things deteriorate — and I've held it in, held it in — and it wasn't the right spot to do so. But now with people listening, I think we're going to make some good strides and try to advance it."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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