Richard Childress Fined, Placed On Probation For Alteraction With Kyle Busch
NASCAR yesterday announced that it fined NASCAR team owner Richard Childress $150,000 and "placed him on probation through Dec. 31 for instigating a brawl" with driver Kyle Busch after Saturday's Camping World Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway, according to Randy Covitz of the K.C. STAR. The probation "includes all NASCAR-sanctioned events." Childress yesterday "took the blame" for the altercation, saying, "I'm responsible for my actions, plain and simple. ... In this instance, I let the passion and my emotions get the best of me." Childress was "upset with how Busch ... bumped the car of RCR rookie Joey Coulter on the cool-down lap of Saturday's race after Coulter had out-dueled him for fifth place." Fox analyst Larry McReynolds said, "I think Richard just had enough of it. Between Kyle pushing and destroying the No. 29 car in post-race at Darlington, and then what he did to Joey Coulter's truck post-race at Kansas, when the truck didn't have a scratch on it, I think Richard was fed up." But McReynolds added NASCAR "can't have the Wild, Wild West" despite its "boys, have at it" mantra. McReynolds: "They can't have an owner just going up to a driver in the garage area, putting him in a headlock and punching him" (K.C. STAR, 6/7). The AP's Jenna Fryer noted it is "not clear what probation means in relation to Childress as a car owner." It "could only mean that he must stay away from Busch for the rest of the year." Childress in a statement said that he "accepts the penalty, but he did not apologize for his actions" (AP, 6/6).
MISPLACED PUNISHMENT: ESPN.com's Terry Blount wrote the decision to fine Childress and place him on probation, while doing nothing to Busch, is the "most unpopular penalty in ages." Blount: "What happens on the track, and goes relatively unpunished, brings about other actions off the track that do get punished. ... Have-at-it-boys on the track leads to increased incidents off the track, and one is a more serious offense than the other. The wrong one." However, Blount wrote he is sure Childress "considers it money well spent," and added, "Realize NASCAR probation means absolutely nothing" (ESPN.com, 6/6). In Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann wrote, "I'm just not seeing much of a penalty. And I'm not seeing much of a deterrent for the next guy who might be inclined to take a poke at Busch" (JSONLINE.com, 6/6).
SUPPORT IN THE GARAGE? ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said of Childress' situation, "The fact that he’s 65 and he took on a guy probably close to 40 years younger than him, he’s being applauded throughout NASCAR” ("PTI," ESPN, 6/6) ESPN’s Tim Brewer said, “Money's not going stop a man when he’s got as much pride as Richard Childress. ... Richard Childress doesn’t sell cars. He doesn’t sell anything. He sells racing. He is a dedicated person at that and I don't blame him for what he did.” ESPN's Ricky Craven: "Richard Childress sells racing. He is a dedicated person at that and I don't blame him for what he did" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 6/6). But ESPN's Bomani Jones said, "The bottom line is this: You can't have team owners at the age of 65-years-old going up to people that legitimately cannot hit them back. What else do you do against a guy like Richard Childress when this sort of thing happens?” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/6).
MORE FISTICUFFS? The AP's Fryer noted NASCAR officials "wouldn't say Monday whether Ryan Newman secretly was fined $50,000 for allegedly punching Juan Pablo Montoya during a meeting last month at Darlington." The two drivers were "summoned to NASCAR's at-track office on May 6 to discuss their ongoing feud," and NASCAR afterward said the meeting "did not go as well as we had hoped it would." Rumors of the penalty "began to leak on Monday in response" to the Childress fine (AP, 6/6).