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Jarrett rips Kenseth, drops out of top 35

Jarrett rips Kenseth, drops out of top 35

Jarrett rips Kenseth, drops out of top 35
March 25, 2007

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) -Dale Jarrett blasted 2003 champion Matt Kenseth after contact between the two ended Jarrett's day just 45 laps into the race Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Jarrett, the 1999 series champion, was bumped from behind by Kenseth and the touch spent him spinning into the wall. The rear wing of his Car of Tomorrow shattered, forcing Jarrett out of the race and to a 42nd-place finish.

``This is not the first time that (Kenseth's) done something like this,'' Jarrett said. ``Everybody has this great vision that Matt Kenseth is this nice guy on the race track. He is a nice guy away from the track. But he's a rough driver on the race track when he doesn't have to be.

``We'll have a discussion.''

The accident put Michael Waltrip Racing into an even deeper hole as Jarrett dropped to 39th in owner points. That's a precarious position to be in next week, when NASCAR begins guaranteeing a spot in the field to the top 35 current drivers.

Jarrett has just two past champion provisionals left to use this season, and once those are gone, he'll have to qualify on speed each week until he cracks the top 35.

It's the same boat all the Toyota teams are in, with all seven Camrys outside the top 35 in points.

Dave Blaney is 37th, Brian Vickers is 38th, David Reutimann is 45th, Jeremy Mayfield is 47th, A.J. Allmendinger is 49th and Waltrip is 50th.


ON HOLD: Although contract talks with Dale Earnhardt Jr. are currently on hold, team president Max Siegel said the company is still on target to have the situation resolved by May.

``I am optimistic that we'll figure out something,'' Siegel said. ``Everyone's goal has been to have something done by May, so we are going to continue along the road that we are on.''

Earnhardt is represented at the bargaining table by his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge. But health issues have slowed the progress, and all talks were put on hold as she recovers from Friday's surgery to remove a benign tumor located near her pancreas.

``Everything is framed nicely,'' Siegel said. ``We've been having productive discussions, but we're really just trying to make sure that she gets healthy and recovers as fast as she possibly can.''

Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for Reed Sorenson, made a brief appearance at the track Saturday before helicoptering back to North Carolina to be with his wife. But he was on the pit box Sunday and took daughter, Karsyn, over to Earnhardt's car to update him on his sister's condition before the race began.

``Things are good now,'' Elledge said. ``It was scary, but the doctors took care of it and she's doing really good.''


ROOKIE WOES: Regan Smith was far from pleased with his 25th-place finish in his Nextel Cup debut. The rookie pitted outside his box early in the race, was penalized one lap and never recovered.

``Anytime you feel like you have a better car than the driver you leave the track disappointed,'' said Smith, who dropped from 18th to 39th after the pit-road penalty.

``I made a mistake on pit road and that pretty much killed our day from then on. I was barely over the line - sometimes the (NASCAR) official is lenient but he wasn't today.''

But Smith, who temporarily took over the car from Mark Martin, was pleased to still be running at the end of the race.

``I feel it was a huge accomplishment to finish the race at Bristol,'' noted Smith. ``We are proud of that because that was the main objective. I'm glad this is over, all the hoopla about my Cup debut.''

Smith also will drive next week at Martinsville Speedway. The car he was driving entered Bristol on top of the points, but dropped to eighth after Martin sat out.

But crew chief Ryan Pemberton still lauded the effort.

``Everyone has to remember he didn't come into an easy situation by driving the car that was in the points lead and making his first Cup start at what is probably the toughest track on the circuit,'' Pemberton said. ``But Regan handled himself very well both on and off the track. We were impressed on how he regrouped after that early pit road mistake.

``He drove a hard race. He's a pleasure to work with and this deal is only going to get better.''


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Re: Jarrett rips Kenseth, drops out of top 35

I knew he was gonna be real pissed when I saw him get out of the car. He is right though Kenseth flat out wrecked him when he didnt have to. Way to early in the race for that type of driving

Michael Cash
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Re: Jarrett rips Kenseth, drops out of top 35


Almost looks like he is flipping him off  big_smile

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