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DATE News (chronologically)
NASCAR moves to make puppets out of its drivers UPDATE #2
Ryan Newman muzzled
Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin were the two Sprint Cup drivers fined by NASCAR for making disparaging comments about the series, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Neither driver could be reached for comment. Newman was fined first and Hamlin second, the sources said. The sources would not confirm which statements made by the drivers were responsible for the fines, but both drivers have been outspoken on several issues.

07/27/10 NASCAR would neither confirm nor deny an Associated Press report Monday that it has fined two drivers for comments critical of the sanctioning body.

The fines, which were as much as $50,000 according to the AP, are not common in NASCAR, which typically allows its drivers to speak their minds.

“I won’t comment directly on the issues of assessments, but I will say that it is the sanctioning body’s obligation on behalf of the industry and our fans to protect the sport’s brand,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said in a statement Monday night.

“Any action taken by NASCAR has nothing to do with the drivers expressing an opinion; it’s focused on actions or comments that materially damage the sport. We have specifically discussed this in meetings with teams, drivers and stakeholders.”

07/26/10 NASCAR has fined at least two of its star drivers this season for making critical comments about the racing series, The Associated Press has learned.

People familiar with the penalties told the AP the comments were considered disparaging to the sport. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR is not publicly identifying the topflight drivers it fined. They say one driver was penalized as much as $50,000.

The decision to fine competitors for critical comments puts NASCAR in line with many other professional sports leagues. The NFL and NBA both routinely issue fines for criticism of officiating. ThatsRacin.com

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