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WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2007
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Talladega bans 14 fans

TALLADEGA (AP) — Talladega Superspeedway has permanently banned 14 fans from buying tickets at the speedway following their arrests Sunday for throwing objects on the track after Jeff Gordon's victory in the Aaron's 499.

The fans were charged with disorderly conduct Sunday and posted bond at the track's jail facilities, Talladega County Sheriff Jerry Studdard said. Track officials can't prevent the 14 fans from buying tickets through a third party.

A number of fans began throwing beer cans after Gordon won the race under caution, passing the late Dale Earnhardt — a Talladega favorite — in career wins.

Talladega officials had issued warnings before the race that fans caught throwing objects over the fence separating the grandstands from the track would be arrested.

Superspeedway president Grant Lynch said identifying other fans who threw objects was harder than he had imagined.

"At a baseball game where everybody is sitting down, it's easy to see someone stand up and throw an object onto the field," Lynch said. "I was looking at a section that probably had 300 people in it, and they were all standing up, waving their arms and their caps, and I couldn't pinpoint where any of the objects were coming from."

Track officials added security following a similar incident after Gordon's victory in 2004, and said they will review Sunday's incident to see if more changes are needed.

Fans are allowed to bring small coolers into the track, and also can buy canned beverages at concession stands.

Montoya gets fine: Juan Pablo Montoya got his first glimpse of NASCAR's heavy hand when the first-year driver was fined $10,000 for making an obscene gesture on live television.

Montoya raised his middle finger to the camera mounted inside his car after a practice session two races ago in Phoenix. He said the gesture was a joke with the TV crew that had been following him the past month for an ABC News special.

But the feed was live, and NASCAR penalizes drivers who use obscene language or gestures on TV. So Montoya received his first punishment since leaving Formula One to join NASCAR last summer. He also was placed on probation through the end of the year. The Colombian apologized for the gesture and doesn't want to discuss it.

"I am done thinking about that, to be honest," he shrugged. "Honestly, I don't even care."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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