NASCAR has announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr and Casey Mears have been placed on probation for the next six races of the Sprint Cup season.

The punishment came after the pair were involved in an on-track altercation following the conclusion of the race at Phoenix at the weekend, and will come into play this weekend at Talladega.

Earnhardt had crashed in the closing stages of the event following contact from Mears and responded by spinning his former team-mate on the cool down lap after the race.

Mears then bumped into the rear of the #88 on pit road as the cars returned to the pits following the conclusion of the cool down lap, with race officials taking a dim view of the incident.

While both drivers escaped a fine or points penalty, the probationary period was imposed for a violation of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR rule book, for actions detrimental to stock car racing; hitting another competitor's car after the race had concluded.