POCONO, P.A._ News leaked earlier this week that NASCAR had fined two of its top drivers for comments they had made criticizing the sport publically. The sanctioning body never announced the fines, nor did they say who the drivers were or what they had said. Thanks to a leak, The Associated Press filed the story and started one of the most talked about controversies of the season.

Friday at Pocono Raceway, Ryan Newman confirmed he was one of the two drivers fined by NASCAR. While ESPN had reported Newman and Denny Hamlin were the two drivers hit with the fines, neither had come clean until today.

“The point is, there’s no point in repeating (the comment), because that’s what got me in trouble in the first place. The idea is we all need to be positive about the sport in every aspect of it,” Newman said. “I don’t know if they were wrong, but I can’t say they were right either. It’s just a situation that nobody wants to talk about and they want to keep private.”

NASCAR has been criticized by both fans and media alike for keeping information about the fines a secret. It is not just the fans and media that have been kept in the dark about the situation, instead drivers, crew members, and most everyone except NASCAR and the two drivers was out of the loop. However, Newman argued keeping the situation out of the limelight was the right move and best for the sport.

“The secret part of it is a good thing, that’s what people need to understand,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about the negative, NASCAR doesn’t want to talk about the negative, there are people in the garage area that want to talk about the negative aspect of the sport and that’s not good. We are here to present a great race for the fans to enjoy with their family and then to go home and talk about how much fun they had and that school is starting and they want to come back and do it again next week.”

The comments that got Newman in trouble with the sanctioning body took place on television, not in the NASCAR hauler. With more access to the drivers than most other sports have with their athletes, drivers are often asked questions in the heat of the moment. For Newman, his answer was not to the liking of NASCAR and he has now paid the price.

“When you run 200mph, get crashed by someone else, end up upside down and you can’t get out of your car for 12 minutes, there’s times you want to say some things that you probably shouldn’t say,” Newman said. “When you get a microphone stuck in your face when the adrenaline is still running, don’t expect everything to be positive.”

Much of this issue has turned into a debate about what the media – and ultimately the fans – are allowed to know. Talking with a group of reporters, Newman argued it was the media’s job to focus on the positives taking place in the sport, not just the negatives aspects, but also the driver’s responsibility to think before they speak.

“I think everybody can voice their opinion. I think NASCAR is telling you to be careful of how you voice opinion, where you voice it and the impact it has upon voicing it. The things that we’re complaining about aren’t things we need to be complaining about on air, per say. We need to go up to the (NASCAR) truck and have a private conversation, the way it always has been.”

Newman called on the media to put their best foot forward to give the drivers more time after incidents to cool off and allow them to collect their thoughts before asking questions that could potentially get them in trouble with NASCAR.

“There’s a lot of things that are kept quite in NASCAR. There are a lot of things that are kept private in any governing body. It’s not out of the question that it got leaked out, it’s not good for our sport, it should have never got leaked out. Ideally it would have never happened so why talk about it? Let’s talk about the racing, let’s talk about what we can do to put more fans in the stands and put on a better show for the fans.”

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