Apologies flow from Nationwide incident
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hair on Saturday, apology on Monday.
Pastrana Waltrip Racing issued an apology Monday from Jerry Baxter, the crew chief for Patrick Carpentier, for pulling the hair of Steven Wallace following Saturday's Nationwide Series race in Montreal.
"I'm sorry for what happened after the race on Saturday and I take responsibility for my own actions," Baxter said in a statement. "I called Steve today and apologized.
"I was just very frustrated and let my emotions get to me. That was Patrick's last race and we wanted to make it special. We really thought he had a shot for the win and everything boiled over when that chance went away in the wreck. Everyone was just racing hard and there was no intent to wreck anyone. There's no excuse for what I did after the race and I apologize to everyone."
NASCAR penalized Baxter on Tuesday, fining the crew chief $5,000 and placing him on probation until Dec. 31.
The "boys hair at it" moment happened on pit road shortly after Marcos Ambrose took the checkered flag for his first win at the Montreal road course. The son of ESPN NASCAR analyst Rusty Wallace had taken his helmet off when Baxter reached through the driver's side window and pulled his blond locks in response to Wallace wrecking Carpentier on lap 56.
"Only girls pull hair," Wallace later said in a television interview. He later apologized as well.
"He needs to apologize every race," Carpentier told reporters in Montreal. "His sponsor should be called 'My Apology.' "
Team co-owner Michael Waltrip also issued an apology.
"Pastrana Waltrip Racing prides itself on racing hard, but we always want to be good sports," he said. "Jerry Baxter is very passionate about our race team, but what Jerry did after Saturday's race was wrong and he knows it. I talked to him about it that night and again today.
"Believe me, I understand how emotional you can get behind the wheel or up on the pit box; I've been there. But you have to draw a line and Jerry crossed that line. It's not what we are all about. I apologize to Steve Wallace and all his fans as well as all NASCAR fans."
Carpentier, 39, had announced earlier in the week plans to end his 27-year racing career after the Montreal race. He, too, was frustrated after a 32nd-place finish in a car he felt had a shot to win before Wallace got into him.
"I'm amazed a guy like Wallace has a full-time ride," Carpentier said. "It's like sometimes he spaces out. I've never said this before, but I think the guy is an idiot. But what can you do?"
For the record, Carpentier hasn't apologized for his comments.
He may be the only one who hasn't apologized.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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