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Hairy situation: NASCAR penalizes crew chief Jerry Baxter

NNSracing.com

NASCAR has penalized Jerry Baxter, crew chief for the No. 99 Pastrana-Waltrip Racing Toyota driven by Patrick Carpentier, for his actions following the completion of the NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200  at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 20.

Baxter has been fined $5,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for violating Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing - involved in an altercation on pit road after the completion of the race).

Baxter was captured on ESPN's broadcast of the race grabbing the hair of driver Steve Wallace and shaking Wallace's head several times. Baxter was apparently upset over contact between Carpentier and Wallace earlier in the race.

"I'm sorry for what happened after the race on Saturday and I take responsibility for my own actions," Baxter said in a statement released before the penalty. "I called Steve 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."

Michael Waltrip, co-owner of Pastrana-Waltrip racing, said his team prides itself on racing hard, "but we always want to be good sports."

"Jerry Baxter is very passionate about our race team, but what Jerry did after Saturday's race was wrong and he knows it," Waltrip said. "I talked to him about it that night and again (Monday). 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."