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Kahne, Waltrip, Robby Gordon slapped with fines

9/19/2005

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Robby Gordon and Kasey Kahne avoided
suspensions Monday when NASCAR penalized them for road-rage
incidents in New Hampshire.

Gordon was fined $35,000 and docked 50 points in the driver
standings for intentionally trying to hit Michael Waltrip's car
during Sunday's race at New Hampshire International Speedway,
throwing his helmet at Waltrip's car, and cursing during a
television interview.

Kahne was fined $25,000 and penalized 25 points in the standings
for intentionally hitting Kyle Busch's car in retaliation for an
earlier accident.

"There have been a growing number of incidents lately where
drivers have taken matters into their own hands," NASCAR president
Mike Helton said. "Such unsafe and inappropriate behavior has to
stop.

"NASCAR will use whatever means necessary to stop it."

Waltrip was fined $10,000 and 25 points for using an obscene
gesture during the televised broadcast, and his car owner, Teresa
Earnhardt, was penalized 25 points.

Gordon and Kahne actually got off easy considering the harsh
tone from NASCAR officials that hinted at suspensions following the
accidents.

"We're going to do whatever we need to do, whether it's to park
a guy for a week or park a guy for nine weeks," spokesman Jim
Hunter said after the race. "We're going to do whatever we need to
do to prevent retaliation on the racetrack."

Instead, Kahne and Gordon essentially got off with a slap on the
hand.

For example, Busch Series driver Martin Truex Jr. was fined
$10,000 and 25 points for using an obscene gesture earlier this
month. Last season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fined $25,000 and 25
points for cursing in a television interview.

Jimmy Spencer was the last driver suspended, forced to sit out
one race in 2003 for punching Kurt Busch after the two were in an
accident. Kevin Harvick was "parked" for one race in 2002 when
NASCAR did not allow him to compete in a Cup race at Martinsville,
Va., as punishment for aggressive driving in a truck race the day
before.

In addition to their penalties, both Kahne and Gordon were
placed on probation until the end of the season and their car
owners were also penalized. Ray Evernham, Kahne's car owner, was
docked 25 points and Jim Smith, owner of Gordon's car, was docked
50 points.

This is the second consecutive year Gordon has gotten into
trouble at New Hampshire. He intentionally wrecked Greg Biffle last
year as retaliation, and the accident collected Chase contenders
Tony Stewart and Jeremy Mayfield, effectively ending their
championship hopes.

Although NASCAR did not penalize him, Gordon was placed on
probation by then-car owner Richard Childress.

Gordon apologized Monday for cursing, but still blamed Waltrip
for the accident.

"I let my emotions get the better of me and I apologize," he
said. "I don't know what it is, but he puts the bumper to me a
lot, and this time he did what he set out to do. We basically
destroyed a great race car, and unfortunately it's the people that
work in the shop that really suffer. We didn't deserve that at
all."

Gordon and Waltrip wrecked under caution, and Gordon waited
until Waltrip came past him and tried to back his car into him. He
missed -- but almost hit Stewart, who had to stop to avoid Gordon.

Gordon then got out of his car, waited for Waltrip, acted as if
he was going to walk in front of Waltrip's car and threw his helmet
at him. It hit just below the driver's window.

Kahne's accident came midway through the race, when Busch bumped
him and sent him hard into the wall. Kahne restarted his battered
car and drove it slowly along the bottom of the track until Busch
came by in turn one. Kahne then shot up the track, hitting Busch in
the left front.

NASCAR parked him for the rest of the race, but Kahne was
unapologetic.

"I accept responsibility for my actions and will, in the
future, channel the competitive energy and emotion that my team and
I share toward productive results on the racetrack for Evernham
Motorsports, our sponsors and fans," Kahne said Monday. "This is
behind us now. As a team, our focus is on the upcoming events and
the future."

Also, Lance McGrew, crew chief for Brian Vickers, was fined
$10,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the year
because their car failed prerace inspection. Vickers also was
penalized 25 driver points and car owner Mary Hendrick was
penalized 25 points.