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Childress makes statement on fine

Asked directly this week if Newman had hit him, Montoya replied "I don't know, ask him ... I could tell you either way, couldn't I? I could make something up. Let's leave it at that."

"That's just speculation," Newman said in response to the rumours. "It was a private meeting. That's why we had it at the hauler. With conflict there are varying opinions, that's what causes the conflict. I'm past it."

"Anything relevant to discussions that NASCAR has with competitors in the hauler will continue to stay between NASCAR and the competitors, and NASCAR will always work to protect that bridge of confidence," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp insisted.

But punishments for meetings held in private in the NASCAR hauler have happened: Tony Stewart got a six-week probation for hitting Kurt Busch during one such meeting at Daytona in 2008.

Secret fines aren't unprecedented either: Denny Hamlin revealed that he had been fined $50,000 for criticising NASCAR on Twitter, leading to Ryan Newman revealing that he had also been secretly fined in April 2010 for critical comments he made about the style of racing at Talladega.

At the time, many fans were outraged at the idea that NASCAR was not only fining drivers for honestly speaking their minds, but then not even telling anyone they were doing it. Such secret fines made NASCAR look "untrustworthy", fans complained.




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NASCAR team owner Richard Childress. [Picture credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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