Below are some Q & A between the media and Mike Helton at Kansas Speedway regarding the incident between Richard Childress and Kyle Busch Friday evening after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Hopefully, this will answer some of your questions you may have as to why NASCAR didn’t do certain things or what they have planning ahead.
Q. What was NASCAR’s perception of what happened on the cooldown lap between Joey Coulter and Kyle?
MIKE HELTON: That kind of falls under the statement that I made that we don’t think Kyle did anything to violate his probation on the racetrack yesterday.
Q: Obviously one of the things in the rule book states that you guys can do an emergency action and can eject an individual. One of the things it says you can eject for is for fighting. Can you explain why you didn’t eject Richard, and does this not fall under fighting with what you’ve been able to uncover?
MIKE HELTON: It does. And we do have that ability, and incidents even beyond fighting, to feel like if we needed to do that, we could, and that was considered in this case.
And what will happen today is that Richard will operate as the owner of Richard Childress Racing with some restrictions attached to it as to where he may go or not go.
But we decided to let Richard stay, because there does need to be leadership of an organization represented, which, you know, historically we rely on crew chiefs. But since both organizations have multiple teams, we decided that it would be better if there was an authority from the team here. And there’s not a second level authority present this weekend from his organization; Joe Gibbs is here from Joe Gibbs Racing, and we chose to allow Richard to participate today.
Q. You said what Kyle did on the track is not a violation of his probation, but what goes on in the garage, does that not have any factor –
MIKE HELTON: Unless you know something we don’t know, I’m not sure what he did in the garage that would have been in question.
Q. What have you been told went on in the it garage?
MIKE HELTON: I’m not to go into all of the details. I’m just saying we have not seen anything that indicated Kyle violated his probation on the racetrack yesterday or even in the garage areas yesterday.
Q. Are we looking at Kyle as Kyle Busch driver, rather than Kyle Busch owner, because Kyle Busch driver does have a history with the RCR company that dates back to Darlington. I think that’s kind of where it hit the crescendo when he was put on probation. So are we looking at Kyle Busch driver, Kyle Busch owner, Kyle Busch competitor in general?
MIKE HELTON: We look at him as a member of NASCAR. Kyle Busch is a member of NASCAR, other drivers, crew members, car owners are members of NASCAR. Our authority is around NASCAR members and that’s the way we look at them as NASCAR members.
Certainly we investigate to get the totality of everything we need to make a decision. The reaction from NASCAR is focused on what happened yesterday.
Q. Has fighting in the garage as something that used to be part of NASCAR, people would scrap it out all the time, has that changed with the current era in sports, that you simply have to look at the bigger picture and can’t allow what you did years ago? Because a lot of that went on.
MIKE HELTON: I think throughout the history of NASCAR, we have gone through cycles of everything, including tempers in the garage and on the racetracks, and I think our responsibility lies in reacting to those trends, and if it is a trend that we feel like escalates, then we have a history of stepping in and turning those trends around.
NASCAR Statement – June 5, 2011
“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.”
Will this fall under “Boys have at it?”
Richard Childress had an altercation with Kyle Busch in the garage area after the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway, sources confirmed Saturday night. Multiple sources say “Childress took matters into his own hands.”
The altercation happened in the garage area about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the race, according to the sources, who indicated that Childress initiated the altercation. Childress likely was upset that late in the race, Richard Childress Racing driver Joey Coulter and Busch had a tight battle for fifth with contact on the final lap. Busch tapped Coulter on the cool-down lap following the race.
According to sources, Richard Childress took off his watch and handed it to his grandson, Austin Dillion, before approaching the driver. Childress initiated the altercation without a discussion, placing Busch in a headlock and punching him two or three times. Busch then went to the ground in a defensive position, but Childress attempted to punch Busch again after he rose.
This obviously isn’t the first time Busch has had an issue with someone related to Richard Childress Racing. Busch has found himself in several disagreements with RCR’s Kevin Harvick, including a notable incident at Darlington in which Busch moved Harvick’s car on pit road to try and avoid getting punched.
NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp confirmed that NASCAR was looking into the rumors of an altercation following the Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway.
More to come.
Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Richard Childress, long before he became one of the preeminent car owners in NASCAR history, was a race car driver himself, with limited means. Still, he persevered, which is what you do when you purchase your first race car for $20 at the age of 17.
Childress, the consummate self-made racer, was respectable behind the wheel. Between 1969-81 he had six top-five finishes and 76 top 10s in 285 starts, finishing fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings in 1975. Having formed Richard Childress Racing in 1972, Childress retired from driving in 1981. The rest, as they say, is history.
Much of that history is linked to one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, who won six championships and 67 races between 1984-2000 for RCR.
But Childress has had other successes, as well. In addition to Earnhardt’s championships, Childress drivers have given him five others. His total of 11 national series owner championships is second all-time. Childress was the first NASCAR team owner to win championships in all three of NASCAR’s national series.
Along the way, Childress has excelled off the track. He was one of the first owners to recognize the market potential for race team collectables. In recent years he established his own winery in North Carolina. And in 2008, Childress was recognized for his role in establishing the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
That $20 race car seems a light year away.
The second round of nominees, which again includes many of the sport’s legendary names, were selected by a 21-person nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks. The committee’s votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young. NASCAR Hall of Fame’s second induction class of five inductees will be chosen via a process that includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.COM.
Joining the 21-person committee this year is Jody Deery, owner of acclaimed quarter-mile short track Rockford (Ill.) Speedway. She replaces Tom Blackwell, former owner of Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway, who passed away in April.
The HOF’s inductees will be determined by the Voting Panel, which has 53 members – the entire Nominating Committee, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs) and recognized industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the Voting Panel’s 53rd and final ballot. Four new members will join the Voting Panel this year: Richard Petty, Kyle Petty of TNT, legendary media member Chris Economaki, and Jim Campbell of Chevrolet.
Following are the 25 nominees. I will be highlighting each nominee over the next few weeks.
- Bobby Allison, 1983 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and winner of 84 races
- Buck Baker, first driver to win consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
- Red Byron, first NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, in 1949
- Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
- Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion
- Richie Evans, nine-time NASCAR Modified champion
- Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
- Rick Hendrick, 12-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
- Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion
- Dale Inman, eight-time NASCAR Sprint Cup championship crew chief
- Ned Jarrett, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
- Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600
- Bud Moore, 63 wins and two NASCAR Sprint Cup titles as a car owner
- Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner
- Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
- David Pearson, 105 victories and three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
- Lee Petty, winner of first Daytona 500 and first three-time series champion
- Fireball Roberts, won 33 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including the 1962 Daytona 500
- T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Senior VP
- Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, 1951 and ‘53
- Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth of stock car racing”
- Darrell Waltrip, winner of 84 races and three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
- Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
- Glen Wood, as driver, laid foundation for Wood Brothers’ future team success
- Cale Yarborough, winner of three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, 1976-78