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NASCAR plays peacemaker, but ...

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya are apparently nowhere near settling their differences from last week.

Newman and Montoya met in the NASCAR Hauler Friday at Darlington Raceway prior to the day’s Sprint Cup Series practice session and were engaged in a physical altercation, several sources confirmed to the Observer and

Asked about the meeting, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp acknowledged that “it did not go as well as we had hoped.”

“NASCAR did meet with Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya today before the first Sprint Cup Series practice. The drivers were given their final warning and are fully aware that we will be watching this very closely,” Tharp said.

“The meeting didn’t go as well as we had hoped it would and we’re not completely through with this issue.” Newman qualified second for Saturday night’s Southern 500 while Montoya will start 16th. Kasey Kahne will start from the pole. After qualifying Newman and Montoya were asked about how their meeting went with NASCAR officials. Asked directly about the incident, Montoya said, “I’m not going to tell you (expletive).

"Let’s leave it at that. What happened in the trailer was between me, Ryan Newman and NASCAR. That’s it.” Told that NASCAR officials had said the meeting did not go well, Newman said, “With conflict, everybody has varying opinions and I’m just trying to put the whole situation behind us and move on to this weekend’s race.”

Asked if he punched Montoya, Newman replied, “That’s speculation.”

The meeting was held in response to the drivers’ confrontations on the track last weekend at Richmond, Va. Newman met with NASCAR officials for 30 minutes after the Richmond race to discuss his run-ins with Montoya, who left the track immediately after the race. “We’ll move on. It was sad because of the way it affects our team. I’m not worried about anybody else’s team,” Newman said earlier Friday. “It affects our team, because of somebody losing their temper. “The way that is taken out on a team is different than the way it should be taken out on a driver. That’s something we’ll get addressed.” Montoya said he has had problems with Newman in the past. “It just adds up. It gets to a point where too much is too much and I felt it had to stop, you know what I mean?” Montoya said. “I could have done it a lot more aggressively and completely knocked him out of the race, but that wasn’t really the plan. “I just felt he could have given me about an inch and nothing would have happened, but over and over and over has been the case. I’ve been wrecked by him a couple of times.” Asked if he thought Montoya would cross paths with him again, Newman said he wasn’t sure. “We race, we race hard. You never know,” he said. “I crossed paths with Tony Stewart before and I joined sides with him.”

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