NASCAR: Richard Childress fined $150,000 over fight

Team owner Richard Childress has been fined $150,000 and put on probation for the rest of the year following an altercation with Kyle Busch in the garage area of Kansas.

NASCAR team order Richard Childress has been fined $150,000 following his altercation with Kyle Busch after the end of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday evening.

Childress has also been put on NASCAR probation for the rest of the year.

The NASCAR statement announcing the penalty said that the penalties had been applied 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.

The probation covers all NASCAR-sanctioned events until December 31, including Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series races.

However, Childress has escaped being excluded from any forthcoming races, which had been seen as a possibility after NASCAR president Mike Helton had admitted that ejecting Childress from Kansas Speedway on Sunday had indeed been considered.

In the end Childress was subjected to “territorial” limitations which essentially meant that he was kept out of pit lane and the garage area and restricted to working on and around the tean’s hauler. NASCAR said that he had been allowed to stay because “there’s not a second-level authority present this weekend for his organisation” and theory were worried about anyone else being able to maintain discipline and stop any further hostilities breaking out.

“The penalty we have announced today for Richard Childress reflects NASCAR’s response to the incident at Kansas Speedway on Saturday,” said NASCAR’s statement. “We feel this action is appropriate and are confident all parties involved understand our position on this matter and will move forward appropriately.”

Richard Childress released a statement after the penalties were announced in which he accepted that “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.”

For his part, Kyle Busch had already indicated that he would leave the matter in NASCAR’s hands and not pursue other avenues of redress – which could have included reporting the matter to the police for possible criminal assault.

“NASCAR is taking the situation seriously and is looking into it, and making their decisions based what facts they can discover … “Whatever they feel best to protect their sport and to protect what we have going on here is to their best discretion,” said Busch. “I’m all for whatever they decide to do.”

He concluded: “I’m going to leave it up to NASCAR and let them decide what they feel is best.”

Busch himself remains on probation until June 15 for an unrelated disciplinary matter dating from a pit lane clash with Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick at Darlington in May. Both drivers were found at fault and additionally fined $25,000.

Asked about whether Saturday’s incident represented the latest step in an ongoing feud that had been brewing between the Childress and Busch camps, Kyle replied: “That’s not something I can answer. I wasn’t the aggressor or the instigator here. All I can say is I was just trying to head back to my hauler and deal with my own business.”

The altercation started after Kyle Busch, driving the #18 truck for his own Truck Series team, had been unhappy with the way that RCR rookie Joey Coulter overtook him for fifth place on the final lap and gave him a bump on the cool-down lap after the chequered flag.

Childress showed up at the Busch garage 30 minutes after the end of the race having reportedly taken offence at Busch’s comments, then handed his watch to his grandson Austin Dillon (another competitor in the Truck series) – and allegedly got the 26-year-old Busch in a headlock before proceeding to hit him multiple times in the face. Busch fell to the ground and curled up “in a defensive position” but when he tried to get up, the 65-year-old Childress again tried to hit him.

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