Newman/Montoya feud hits new heights

The Juan Pablo Montoya/Ryan Newman feud erupted Friday afternoon at Darlington Raceway.

Sources tell that an altercation broke out between the drivers in the NASCAR hauler, the sanctioning body’s at-track office where private meetings can be held.

One source told that Montoya said after the incident that "Newman hits like a girl."

When asked directly about the incident after his qualifying run Friday, Montoya said, "I’m not going to tell you s—. Let’s leave it at that. What happened in the trailer was between me, Ryan Newman and NASCAR. That’s it."

Although Montoya was pressed for specifics of the encounter, he replied, "I don’t know, ask him. I could tell you either way, couldn’t I? I could make something up."

Apparently, Newman showed Montoya his displeasure in the NASCAR hauler. When asked about the meeting, Newman grinned mischievously, "It was fine. When you have conflict, everyone has varying opionions." Although Newman called the contact with Montoya "speculation" he wouldn’t prognosticate whether the altercation would prove to be a deterrent to future incidents.

"We race and we race hard," Newman said. "You never know. I’ve crossed paths with Tony Stewart before and joined sides with him. So you never know."

NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp confirmed Friday’s meeting.

"NASCAR did meet with Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya today before the first Sprint Cup Series practice," Tharp said. "The drivers were given their final warning and are fully aware that we will be watching this very closely. The meeting didn’t go as well as we had hoped it would, and we’re not completely through with this issue."

The altercation comes a week after the two drivers had a pair of on-track incidents, the second of which was Montoya retaliating and spinning Newman into the wall.

"Ultimately the way it all worked out, it cost us a lot for what we didn’t do," Newman said about the on-track incidents a week earlier at Richmond. "That’s the toughest part of that whole situation there at Richmond. You know, just getting caught up in a racing situation that in turn turns into something else because of somebody’s temper is not acceptable in my eyes.

"We’ll move on. It was sad because of the way it affects our team. I’m not worried about anybody else’s team; 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."

Prior to the meeting, Newman was asked specifically whether he felt the issue was over.

"I don’t think once you have an issue it’s over in what we do," he said frankly. "Even when you think you’re over it with somebody else, it can reflare really quick. I’m not sure if that was something of what happened at Richmond. But either way, I’m still not happy about it, let’s put it that way."

Earlier Friday, Montoya told reporters that he expected the weekend to be "business as usual" for both, saying, "We’ve both got to keep running good and get good finishes and move on."