Richard Childress Receives Blame For Incident With Kyle Busch After Truck Race
NASCAR President Mike Helton yesterday "exonerated" driver Kyle Busch and "put the blame on" NASCAR team Owner Richard Childress for an altercation after Saturday's Camping World Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway, according to Randy Covitz of the K.C. STAR. Helton said, "Richard Childress' actions were not appropriate and fell short of the standard we expect of owners in this sport." Witnesses said that Childress "approached Busch in the garage after the truck race, and after words was exchanged, began brawling." Childress "was upset with how Busch ...bumped the car of Childress rookie driver Joey Coulter on the cool-down lap of Saturday's race after Coulter had outdueled him for fifth place." Busch, Childress and Busch Sprint Cup car Owner Joe Gibbs "met with NASCAR officials" at 8:30am CT yesterday, and Busch "emerged after about five minutes." Helton said that the "main reason for bringing all the parties together Sunday morning was to prevent any incidents" in the Sprint Cup Series STP 400. Helton added that NASCAR "will announce actions regarding Childress today." Covitz notes Childress "was allowed to direct his Sprint Cup race teams of Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard" during the STP 400, though there were "some restrictions on where he could go and not go at Kansas Speedway, including the pit area" (K.C. STAR, 6/6). USA TODAY's Nate Ryan notes Childress "watched the STP 400 from the top of his No. 33 team's hauler." Helton said that "ejecting Childress from the speedway was considered." But he added, "We decided to let Richard stay because there needs to be leadership of an organization represented" (USA TODAY, 6/6). Gibbs said, "NASCAR is handling this the correct way, and we're going to let them take charge, which they have" (SCENEDAILY.com, 6/5). However, SCENEDAILY.com's Kenny Bruce wrote the decision to allow Childress to remain at Kansas Speedway for yesterday's race "smacks of favoritism" (SCENEDAILY.com, 6/5).
HEARING IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: In Charlotte, Jim Utter cited a source as saying that Childress "initiated the incident." The source added that Childress "took off his jewelry before approaching Busch in the garage area and struck him with his fist." Busch and Childress "were separated, traded insults and then Childress grabbed Busch in a headlock and struck him again before the incident was broken up" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/4). The altercation happened "about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the race" (SCENEDAILY.com, 6/4). Speed reporter Ray Dunlap said that Childress "went to Busch's garage with the intention of talking to him." But Dunlap added, "What my friends who were there told me, said Kyle lipped off to him, and said, 'Don't worry about it old man,' or something like that, and that really fired him up" (K.C. STAR, 6/5). ESPN’s Nicole Briscoe reported when Busch and Childress met with NASCAR officials Sunday, Busch was not wearing sunglasses. Briscoe: "Perhaps a statement as to how hard or how hard he was not hit by Richard Childress” ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 6/5).
FINALLY HAD ENOUGH: ESPN’s Marty Smith reported the animosity between Busch and Childress “goes far back.” Smith: “I talked with people inside (Childress’) organization and ... there was a time when they were wrecking cars unnecessarily, and Childress said to Busch, ‘If this continues to happen I'm going to take care of it myself. I’m going to take care of it myself.’ It seems on Saturday, he lived up to his word” ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 6/5). Fox' Jeff Hammond noted, "Don’t forget Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch going at it at the end of that race (last month). Richard Childress sent word and let Kyle Busch know, ‘You touch another piece of my equipment, I’m going to come and I’m going to whip you.’ Yesterday, it was a matter of principle. Kyle hit that #22 truck, and Richard said enough’s enough, and he went down there and he settled it” ("STP 400," Fox, 6/5). In Orlando, George Diaz wrote Childress, "one of the most respected men in the business," did what "any man of honor would do in this situation: He let his drivers know he had their back and wasn't going to take any more of this nonsense" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 6/5).
INTO THE PENALTY BOX: Fox' Darrell Waltrip said he believes the penalty against Childress will be "pretty serious." Waltrip: "These drivers can get into it on the racetrack, we’ve seen that. They fined the guys for getting in trouble on pit row during Darlington a couple of weeks ago. I think when an owner steps over the line -- I think they might make an example out of him” ("STP 400," Fox, 6/5).