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NASCAR cracks down on aggressive driving at Talladega

NASCAR keen to avoid a repeat of monster Sprint Cup shunts as the series returns to Talladega
The 'time out' NASCAR imposed on Michael Waltrip during Friday's Sprint Cup practice at Talladega Superspeedway should be considered a warning shot to competitors in Sunday's AMP Energy 500.

During Friday's second session, Waltrip began pushing Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup leader Jimmie Johnson in the sort of two-car hookup that had propelled Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski to the front of the field in April - a combination that ended badly when Edwards tried to block Keselowski as their cars approached the stripe.

Though "push-drafting" wasn't specifically responsible for sending Edwards' Ford hurtling into the front stretch catch fence, NASCAR warned competitors between practice sessions that the sanctioning body would take a dim view of aggressive driving and drafting, especially in the turns.

When Waltrip ignored a subsequent warning during practice, NASCAR parked him*.

"What we saw early on in practice yesterday was that everybody was getting a little carried away, and at the start of the second practice, we warned them, just said to relax a little bit and do what they needed to do and stay off the aggressiveness," said Sprint Cup Series director John Darby. "A few teams chose not to, they got warned, and in the case of the #55 (Waltrip), he was warned and still chose not to, so we brought him in off the racetrack."

Though Johnson acknowledged a somewhat helpless feeling as the driver being pushed ('When he got on my bumper and was pushing me, I'm like I don't know what I can do here to stop this'), he knows where to get a ride to the front if he needs it on Sunday.

"I don't know if it was the combination of his car and ours, but we got hooked up and started flying," said Johnson, who will start from the pole because of a qualifying rainout. "So I certainly hope to find him in the race, and I'm glad we found that out."

Darby hopes NASCAR doesn't have reason to intervene on Sunday.

"We'll watch it tomorrow during the race," he said. "Hopefully, we won't have to make a call, but if gets too obnoxious, we will."

* - attached image photo is NOT a shot of Waltrip's car being parked as a result of his aggressive driving


by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



Related Pictures

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The No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, driven by Michael Waltrip, and other cars sit in the garage after rain canceled qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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oldhillbilly - Unregistered

November 01, 2009 11:19 PM

Amen. Okay, so bump drafting was kept down(right)not on my TV, but what a boring, except for the last 10 laps, race. So what happened to the COT improvements to keep Newmans car from flipping?? If this is the way, and it looks like it is,it's going for the next year of nascar, let me off at the next corner. I have been a fan of nascar since 1949 when I found out "modified sportsman" cars were a lot more fun then midgets, haven't looked back until the last two years. I'de bet that Dale Sr and the rest that have gone on, are looking down and laughting their fire suits off at the "New Generator of cars" and the resulting micromanagement by nascar. This isn't my nascar, not anymore.

Dale E - Unregistered

November 01, 2009 7:09 PM

Way to go NASCAR. What a way to ruin a race with another stupid weekly decision. BORING....Just going around the track. My TV just went off. Hope you go down even further with your decisions. Just look at the empty seats. You have no one to blame but France, Helton, Darby and others in the palace.



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