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McMurray penalized for Bristol actions
By Dave Rodman, Turner Sports Interactive March 30, 2004
1:30 PM EST (1830 GMT)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Tuesday announced it had fined Jamie McMurray $10,000 and placed him on probation until Aug. 31 for his actions following Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

McMurray, driver of the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, was penalized for violating Section 12-4-A -- Actions detrimental to stock car racing -- of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Rule Book when he made deliberate contact with the car of Matt Kenseth as the field returned to pit lane following the conclusion of the race.

McMurray's probation period covers 18 Nextel Cup point races, including the series' next stop at Bristol, Aug. 28.

After the race, McMurray said he was retaliating for contact Kenseth made to pass him for position on the race's final lap. McMurray, who was fifth at the time of the incident, ended up eighth.

"This place is so easy to get mad at," McMurray said. "There's not a whole lot you can do about it."

Kenseth, the defending NASCAR champion, said McMurray instigated the last lap deal by hitting his No. 17 Ford when McMurray passed him in the race's late stages.

"He didn't wreck me -- he just knocked me out of the groove and I did the same thing to him," Kenseth said. "They say nice guys finish last, I guess. I try to be nice and sometimes you feel you're on the receiving end too much.

McMurray retaliates against Matt Kenseth just after the Food City 500.

"It's no big deal. He didn't wreck. I didn't wreck, except for when he wrecked me on pit road. That wasn't necessary."

On a FOX Sports interview following the race, McMurray said he was so upset he wanted to get out of his car and punch Kenseth for the last-lap contact, but he acknowledged that would not have been acceptable.

Kenseth said nothing about McMurray's post-race actions was acceptable.

"I'm not happy about that because my guys work on the car really hard," Kenseth said. "What happens under green-flag conditions is one thing, but what happens after the race I think is another. I feel bad about that because my guys have to fix these cars and there should be some respect for that."

McMurray said as far as he was concerned any "situation" with Kenseth ended when the series left Bristol.

"It's very unfortunate, but there's nothing you can do about it," McMurray said Sunday. "You just have to start over next week and not worry about it. Matt is not that kind of guy."