- Associated Press - Friday, July 30, 2010

LONG POND, PA. (AP) - Asked the amount of his NASCAR fine, Ryan Newman kept quiet.

What did he do?

Shrugged shoulders.

Hey, maybe the threat of secret fines for speaking out against the stock car series is working after all.

NASCAR expects omerta (the code of silence) from its drivers when it comes to publicly lashing out against the sport. If they do, they’ll be fined.

Ask Newman or Denny Hamlin.

Both Sprint Cup star drivers acknowledged at Pocono Raceway they were the ones fined by NASCAR for making critical comments about the racing series.

“It’s not a good thing by any means for our sport,” Newman said Friday. “The less we talk about it, the more we can talk about the racing.”

Newman refused to disclose the amount of the fine or what he said. He implied that it was for comments he made after he crashed at Talladega Superspeedway.

Newman said in April that winning was “a lottery, racing for a championship shouldn’t be a lottery.” He added the wreck-heavy races at Talladega “affect our championship because it’s not racing.”

He was one of a few drivers Friday who blamed the media for stirring up controversy and an easy willingness to criticize the sport. Newman suggested if he was left alone for a few moments after his wreck instead of being instantly forced to answer questions, he might have cooled down and not been so quick to pop off.

“When you get a microphone stuck in your face when the adrenaline’s still rushing, don’t expect everything to be positive,” Newman said.

Or, he could have said “no comment.”

Hamlin said he was punished for comments he made on Twitter. He also did not reveal the amount of the fine.

People familiar with the penalties told the AP this week fines were levied because the comments were considered disparaging to the sport. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR was not publicly identifying the topflight drivers it fined. They say one driver was penalized as much as $50,000.

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