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Drivers bristle over NASCAR's 'boys, have at it' policy

Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman are irritated over the lack of clarity about penalties, while Harvick and Kyle Busch continue to bicker about their Darlington clash.
Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are still engaging in a sniping war of words over their highly public clash at Darlington, but Harvick - like Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman - is equally exasperated about the lack of clarity over the rules from NASCAR itself.

"I don't mind wrecking," Harvick said. "I don't mind getting wrecked. I don't mind eye for an eye. I don't mind any of that. But just tell me what the rules are. Explain to me what the penalty is ... If you are going to retaliate, what is the penalty? Tell me what the penalty is. A consistent answer."

Central to the driver's frustration is the new NASCAR policy of 'Boys, have at it' which has been taken to mean that when it comes to on-track incidents, the drivers should more or less police themselves and not expect NASCAR to step in and babysit.

"I'm kinda confused by it now," confessed Tony Stewart. "I guess I am waiting for a definition of what is it. It's like 'Boys, have at it' ... from what to what? Where do they want us to go with it? Where is the line in the sand?

"Nobody really has defined what the line in the sand is yet, so none of us really know what we are supposed to do, or what we are allowed to do, what are we not allowed to do, where are we allowed to do it ... what's acceptable and not acceptable?"

Thinking about NASCAR's application of penalties to Harvick and Busch, Stewart continued: "Don't tell us to have at it and then start fining us when nobody really knows where the line is. If we know where the line is, guys probably are not going to go over it quite as much. You have to at least know where that line is

Stewart's team mate Ryan Newman - who was involved in an on-track clash with Juan Montoya the previous week that led to off-track confrontation - also said he was in the dark.

"I don't know exactly how it's always been versus how it is. I know that there are times when there are things that are public and there are times when things are private ... I can only speculate how it should be." He confessed with a smile that "Honestly, I'm kind of new to the bad boy market!"

Meanwhile Jimmie Johnson - who this week was named the US's most influential athlete of 2011 in a poll commissioned by Forbes Magazine - suggested that the confusion was more fundamental than just discussion about penalties and one or two specific incidents: "It's real easy one week to say, 'Oh well, it's too vanilla out there; it's too boring and these guys don't rough each other up and back in the day this or that would happen.'", he said. "And then damn if we don't go to the next race and all that happens and now you've got to write the opposite of that. So I think we're all confused. What do we really want? Does anybody know? It changes every week."




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