Earnhardt not concerned by probation

Dale Earnhardt Jr has accepted NASCAR's decision to put him on probation for the next six races but said the matter was not a serious issue

Earnhardt not concerned by probation

The Hendrick Motorsports driver was reprimanded this week following a post-race incident with Casey Mears at Phoenix when he spun the Californian as both were driving into the pits after the race was finished.

Mears was also put on probation as he reacted to Earnhardt's move by crashing into the back of him while driving towards the garage area.

Earnhardt said he and Mears, who used to be team-mates at Hendrick last season, have already put the issue behind them. He accepted he lost his temper after Mears skidded up the track and made contact with him earlier in the race, sending him against the barrier.

"Me and Casey are real good friends and we definitely wouldn't go the week without having a discussion about it," said Earnhardt Jr.

"He's having a better season this year but he's still not satisfied, I'm definitely in the same position he is and we're just trying to run better. I admitted that he made a mistake - he doesn't run over people, but I just lost my cool. It happens."

Earnhardt Jr accepted NASCAR's penalty saying it is consistent with previous incidents. At the same time, he said he didn't consider it to be something serious, and that even if it wasn't good to be on probation, incidents like the one he had with Mears are simply part of the show.

"NASCAR has [issued] the same penalties for the same infractions before, so they can't really change the way they do the penalties without getting a lot of fuss, especially if I'm involved," Earnhardt Jr said.

"So I don't care. I don't think it's a serious issue. I don't want to put anybody in danger, anybody coming out on the race track or people walking across the track or whatever. I don't know enough about Phoenix to have known whether that was a safe place to do something like that, so maybe it's best they continue to penalise people for doing these types of things just for the safety of the spectators and the officials and all.

"A six-week probation is a good penalty because as a driver you're kind of taught to watch yourself for the next six weeks and you get back in the habit of acting more professionally on the race track, so it's good to have the penalty, but it's good to have the fireworks, too.

"You know what I mean? I think they have to go hand-in-hand."

Mears confirmed the matter had been settled and that there are no hard feelings as they both just wanted to prove a point when they had their post-race exchange.

"I just wanted to bump him to let him know I was upset," said Mears. "And where he did it on the racetrack, because it was after the race, there was nobody that was going to get hurt. I think we both proved our point and no harm, no foul."

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