NASCAR Winston Cup legend Darrell Waltrip has spoken out over the amount of apparently cynical contact between cars that has marked this year's series, and called for tighter control and punishment for the perpetrators.

Speaking to Dave Despain on SPEED Channel's Wind Tunnel programme, Waltrip discussed the recent post-race temper tantrums and the effect they are having on the sport, as well as trying to explain the difference between 'rubbin' and a 'cheap shot'.

"I love rubbin' - rubbin's racin'," he insisted, "If you drive down under me in the third turn coming to get the chequers, and we come out of turn four side-by-side like Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch did, and we're racin' for the line, that's a beautiful thing. But, if you run down in the corner behind me and give me a cheap shot and send me up the hill and you go on to win the race, I'm gonna be after you."

Waltrip went on to claim that he thought the situation surrounding cheap shots had gone beyond the point where it could be considered accidental - and said that it was time that the powers-that-be did something to clamp down on the practice of deliberately wrecking an opponent to gain an advantage.

"I think it's out of control - I think it's out of hand," he admitted, "I think what has happened is that we have become desensitized to it. I think the fans do - the competitors certainly don't - but we see it week in and week out and we start to expect it.

"I expected [Johnny] Sauter to bump [Matt] Kenseth out of the way - that's what I expected and that's what the whole joint was waiting for. I think what NASCAR has to do is to say 'look, if you wreck a guy or you bump a guy out of the way, you go to the rear of the field. And if it's on the last lap and you wreck the guy, you finish one spot behind wherever he does'.

"They've got to take action, quit penalising the victim and start looking at the guy that created the havoc in the first place. And I don't care who it is - if you go down into the corner and you root a guy out of the way to win the race, that's not racing. Racing is an art.

"The [bump and run] should not be allowed - you've got to stop it because, if you don't, it becomes part of every weekend. Every weekend, we're going to have fighting in the pits. It starts at the top - NASCAR has to come up with a deal where a driver will not do that."

Asked whether a probation period would be a suitable deterrent, Waltrip appeared cynical.

"What's probation?" he asked, "I was on probation for 30 years. And these cats make three, four, five million dollars a year, so what's $35,000 to them? The most logical thing to do is that if you bump a guy and he spins and hits the fence, you finish behind him. You've got to have some penalty that will get these guys' attention - young and old.

"There are always excuses for why you do what you do but the bottom is that, if you are guilty week in and week out or guilty occasionally, you've got to pay the price. You just can't let it keep going like it is or it will ruin racing...

"Discipline is part of it. I'm an emotional guy, I love racing, I'm passionate, I care. But I also don't want to see our sport mistreated. Our sport is being damaged by what is taking place."

 

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