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Steve Wallace got his hair pulled by crew chief Jerry Baxter (37 seconds into the above video) after Saturday's NAPA 200 at Montreal. Why?
Wallace went to pass Patrick Carpentier for position as the two entered the hairpin. However, Carpentier was already committed to attempt to pass the car in front of him, meaning that Wallace was making it three-wide in possibly the tightest corner in the Nationwide Series.
Shockingly, it didn't work. Wallace locked the brakes and went sliding, sending Carpentier, who was driving for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing, around. Nothing like getting spun by Steve Wallace in your final race as a professional driver, right? (Carpentier said that he'd retire after Saturday's race)
So after the race -- Carpentier retired later because of his damaged car and actually watched part of the race from a TV tower before the pace car came and got him during a caution flag -- Baxter, crew chief of the No. 99 car, decided to go after Wallace himself. But instead of taking a cue from Kevin Harvick at Darlington, Baxter went for a half-grab/noogie thing, to which Wallace responded after the race that "Only girls pull hair."
While some could argue that Wallace deserves something after all of the contact he's caused during his brief Nationwide career, I don't think any of us saw a hair pull coming. Had Greg Biffle known about this tactic last week, his confrontation with Boris Said might have gone a bit differently.
UPDATE: Both Baxter and team owner Michael Waltrip have issued apologies to Wallace.
Baxter, via a statment, said, "I'm sorry for what happened after the race on Saturday and I take responsibility for my own actions. 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."
Waltrip added, "Pastrana Waltrip Racing 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. 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."
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- Steve Wallace
- Patrick Carpentier