Newman-Wallace Still Feudin

INDIANAPOLIS - Former teammates Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman are still bickering with different opinions about Newman's departure from Penske Racing.

Newman announced last week he would leave the Penske No. 12 ride at the end of the season, calling it a mutual decision between the driver and team owner Roger Penske.

Wallace, now an ESPN television analyst, disagreed with that scenario.

"He didn't leave. Roger called Ryan up to his office and said, 'I don't need your services next year,'" Wallace said. "Ryan didn't come to him and say he's leaving. You all need to write that. That's exactly how it went down. Obviously, there was some bad blood there when that happened. I love Roger, so I'm going to help clear up the story for him."

Newman, who feuded with Wallace during much of their tenure as Penske teammates, responded.

"Was he conscious when he said it?" Newman asked. "It doesn't matter to me. I know Rusty and his personalities - plural - and everybody is different."

"I don't know what Rusty's grounds are or what he's trying to prove by saying that," Newman said. "It wasn't the case, point-blank. Roger and I decided mutually not to continue and it was more of my decision than it was his."

Penske himself issued a statement in wake of the war of words.

"I have read Rusty's comments and it is important for everyone to understand that I did not fire Ryan. His contract runs though 2008 and we sat down and agreed that we were not going forward beyond this year."

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