Harvick and Kahne fined

NASCAR has penalised Nextel Cup stars Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne for an end-of-race conflict at Phoenix last weekend. Each has beee fined $US10,000 and placed on probation until the end of the season

Harvick and Kahne fined

The incident is the latest row in a season packed with controversy on and off the track, including a fight on pit road between Tony Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing crew and Kahne's Evernham team at Chicago, Robby Gordon's deliberate on-track elimination of Greg Biffle at New Hampshire and then the Penske Racing South drivers' recent post-race crash at Martinsville.

The Phoenix incident started after Harvick and Kahne (who makes his Craftsman Truck debut at Darlington this weekend) began bumping on the track toward the end of the race, although neither spun or suffered damage. As the cars steered to pit road after the chequered flag, Harvick turned his car so as to block Kahne's, then got out and began a discussion with Kahne before the rookie got out of his car.

Harvick was pulled away by Kevin Hamlin, crew chief for his RCR team-mate Jeff Burton, and the matter went no further.

The penalties are in line with that recorded against Rusty Wallace at Martinsville. Wallace was fined for bumping Penske Racing South team-mate Ryan Newman's car on the pit lane, apparently in retaliation for a late-race pass Newman had made. The two drivers are still said to be at odds over the issue.

In a separate violation, Tony Eury Sr, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr's DEI Chevrolet, was fined $US2,500 for using a windshield of insufficient thickness (0.25in is the minimum) at Phoenix. The violation was discovered during opening inspection.

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