He said, she said: Wallace claims Newman forced out at Penske

Updated: July 25, 2008, 8:54 PM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman never were pals when they competed as teammates at Penske Racing. Now, the two men have a major difference of opinion over the circumstances of Newman's departure from the No. 12 Dodge at the end of this season.

Newman has said repeatedly that he and team owner Roger Penske discussed his situation a few weeks ago when Newman decided he wanted to move on.

Wallace insinuated on Friday that Newman was fired.

"I'll clear this leaving thing up," Wallace said. "He didn't leave. Roger called Ryan up to his office and said, 'I don't need your services next year.' Ryan didn't come to him and say he's leaving. You all need to write that. That's exactly how it went down.

"Obviously, there was some bad blood there when that happened. I love Roger, so I'm going to help clear up the story for him."

However, in a clarifying statement shortly thereafter, Penske said: "I have read Rusty's comments and it is important for everyone to understand that I did not fire Ryan. His contract runs though 2008 and we sat down and agreed that we were not going forward beyond this year."

Newman was told about Wallace's comments about an hour later.

"I don't know what Rusty is trying to prove, but that's not the case," Newman said. "Roger and I agreed not to continue our association. If anything, it was me more than him. Our goals didn't align."

Wallace, now a broadcaster for ESPN, was Newman's teammate from 2002 through 2005. Their relationship was strained during most of those four seasons.

Sadler: Yates Fords deserve better

Elliott Sadler said Yates Racing does more with less than any team in Sprint Cup. But Sadler also believes the two Yates Fords don't receive the support they deserve in the partnership with Roush Fenway Racing.

"When I was there, they never helped us," said Sadler, who drove for the Yates organization from 2003 until the middle of the 2006 season. "And [RFR] still doesn't help them. I really feel for those guys [at Yates Racing].

"I hate to see what they're going through. I would love to see them get with a manufacturer and team that actually supports them."

Sadler left Yates to drive for Ray Evernham's Dodge team, taking over in the No. 19 Dodge for Jeremy Mayfield.

Roush and Yates began building engines together while Sadler was there, but the two teams formed a more direct partnership at the end of last season when Yates Racing was in danger of going out of business.

Max Jones moved from RFR to Yates to become the team general manger and co-owner. RFR president Geoff Smith and the RFR marketing team have been actively involved in helping co-owner Doug Yates find sponsorship for the No. 28 and No. 38 Fords.

When RFR has to reduce its organization from five cars to four in 2010, one RFR car probably will become a third car for Yates Racing.

Sadler believes his old teammates at Yates still need more help, but he also is impressed with what the organization has accomplished this season.

Travis Kvapil has three top-10s and ranks 21st in the standings in the No. 28 Ford. David Gilliland ranks 25th with two top-10s and one top-5 in the No. 38 Fusion.

"I think it's phenomenal what they've done this year," Sadler said. "For Travis to come in and do what he's done on his first year with that team has been really impressive. I know how hard all those guys work there and I want to see them do well."

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

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Martin still licking his chops

Mark Martin

Martin

Mark Martin backed off slightly from his previous comments in Pocono that he would win the Allstate 400, but he continues to insist he has an excellent chance of going to Victory Lane on Sunday in the No. 8 Chevy.

"I don't know that I ever went Muhammad Ali on this like you guys ran with," Martin said on Friday. "It's really hard to win any race, and I'm well aware of that. I'm probably more realistic about that than most of the people in the garage. But I have every reason to feel good about my chances."

Martin is driving the same car he had in Phoenix on April 12. He finished fifth, but led late in the race before pitting for fuel with 11 laps to go.

"I believe we had the fastest car on the track at Phoenix," Martin said. "And I believe you can run the same stuff here as Phoenix. So I think we should have a fast enough car to be able to challenge here."

Martin was fourth in the first practice session on Friday afternoon and eighth in the second session, turning a lap at 178.724 mph on the 2.5-mile Indy rectangle.

Hendrick boys fastest

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon posted the two fastest laps in practice Friday at the Brickyard.

Johnson was on top of the speed chart with a lap of 180.047 mph in the No. 48 Chevrolet. Gordon was the only other driver who topped 180 mph, turning a lap at 180.007 in his second practice session.

Elliot Sadler had the fastest lap in the first practice session, posting a speed of 179.190 in the No. 19 Dodge.

Carl Edwards was the only Ford in the top 10 with a lap of 178.575 in the No. 99 Fusion, good enough for ninth in the second session.

Vickers looking at big picture

Brian Vickers is one of the drivers still in contention to make the Chase. Vickers ranks 14th, only 95 points behind Denny Hamlin in the 12th and final Chase spot.

Vickers believes his No. 83 Toyota team is on the verge of winning, and he would love to make the Allstate 400 his first victory of the season. But would he gamble on fuel mileage if he had a chance to win on Sunday?

"That's a tough one to answer," Vickers said. "It's a situational thing, but I probably would not gamble to win the race. It is big, and a win here would mean more than anything, but a championship would mean more. If it meant taking a chance of finishing 30th, then it's not worth it."

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