Waltrip, Mears make nice after Richmond wreck
CONCORD, N.C. -- Michael Waltrip was allowed back on the track Monday, two days after getting his first taste of NASCAR's harshest penalty.
After Casey Mears knocked Waltrip's car into the wall late in Saturday's race at Richmond International Raceway, Waltrip retaliated by ramming into the back of Mears' car and pushing it several hundred yards.
NASCAR parked Waltrip for the final 58 laps, a penalty that cost him as much as 60 Sprint Cup points.
"I've never gotten parked before," Waltrip said Monday during a break in testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I read in the paper where people got parked, but I didn't know how you did that. Now I do."
Mears, also at the track for an extra testing session for the Car of Tomorrow, said he had a breakdown in communication with his spotter.
"I don't know if we just had a radio problem or what happened there, but we were kind of running by ourselves there for quite a while," Mears said. "I think the 55 came out on new tires and was running us down and I just wasn't aware of it, and I came off of (turn) 4 and hit him. I had no idea he was there."
He certainly knew Waltrip was there when Waltrip slammed into the back of his car after they both came off the wall.
"It was just an accident and Casey's a good dude," Waltrip said. "I know he didn't do it on purpose and sometimes when somebody does something that I viewed as being pretty stupid, that will make you madder than if someone did something on purpose.
"It was unfortunate for me that I got wrecked and as soon as he came off the wall he was just right there in front of me and I lost my cool for a split second and ran into the back of him."
NASCAR said Waltrip won't face any further penalties, and Mears believes Saturday's punishment was sufficient.
"I can understand why he'd be upset, because it definitely wasn't really his doing," Mears said. "But obviously afterwards what he did wasn't right. I can understand the emotion and being upset, but you definitely don't want to do something like that. Obviously he realizes that, too, and we'll all move on."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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