Following the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway, reports began to surface of an altercation between Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress and Joe Gibbs Racing/Kyle Busch Motorsports driver, Kyle Busch. Witnesses say that Childress put Busch in a headlock and punched him because, following a tough on-track battle with RCR Joey Coulter, Busch hit Coulter’s truck on the cool-down lap.
During the pre-race broadcast for the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, Fox broadcasters Jeff Hammond and Chris Myers discussed the incident, with Hammond saying that after the incident between Busch and Kevin Harvick at the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in which Harvick climbed out of his RCR Sprint Cup Chevy to confront Busch on pit road, and Busch turned Harvick’s Chevy into the wall, Childress said that if Busch touched his equipment again, he would give him a “whuppin.”
A source said that Childress took off his jewelry and then approached Busch and allegedly struck him. The two were separated, but Childress was able to grab Busch and put him in a headlock. He reportedly punched Busch again before the they were separated again.
Before the Sprint Cup race, NASCAR officials met with Childress and Busch regarding the incident. NASCAR president Mike Helton said that Busch did not do anything to violate his probation.
NASCAR considered ejecting Childress from the track, but decided against it because they felt RCR needed its race-day leader. Childress has restrictions put on him, and was not allowed on pit road during the race. Further penalties are expected to be announced Tuesday.
NASCAR issued a statement:
NASCAR has reviewed the incident involving Richard Childress and Kyle Busch after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Saturday at Kansas Speedway. We have met with all parties involved and have determined what happened yesterday is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by NASCAR. Richard Childress’s actions were not appropriate and fell far short of the standard we expect of owners in this sport. We have met with Childress this morning and made our position very clear to him. Further, we expect he will make it clear to all in his organization to ensure this situation does not escalate any further. We will announce our actions regarding this incident Monday. Kyle Busch remains on probation with NASCAR and we continue to watch his actions carefully. However, we have determined that Kyle’s involvement in this incident does not violate his probation and no further action is required.
Update: NASCAR has fined owner Richard Childress $150,000 and placed him on probation until the end of the calendar year for violating Section 12-1, actions detrimental to stock car racing involved in an altercation in the garage area, of the 2011 NASCAR rule book.
NASCAR issued a statement:
The penalty we have announced today for Richard Childress reflects NASCAR’s response to the incident at Kansas Speedway on Saturday. We feel this action is appropriate and are confident all parties involved understand our position on this matter and will move forward appropriately.
Childress also released a statement in response to the announcement:
First of all, I’m responsible for my actions, plain and simple. As you know, I am a very principled person and have a passion for what we do at Richard Childress Racing. I believe passionately in defending my race teams and my sponsor partners. In this instance, I let that passion and my emotions get the best of me. I accept the penalty NASCAR announced today and, as a company, we will now focus on this week’s races at Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.