Richard Childress makes me think of a father who goes over to the schoolyard to take a swing at a child who’s just sent his kid home crying.
Fathers who do that deserve the condemnation they receive because they should know better.
And Richard Childress should know better.
That’s why NASCAR is quite likely going to come down like a ton of bricks today on the retired race driver who's now the owner of cars in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World trucks and ARCA series.
Whether it’s a hefty fine – and I, for instance, do not think anything that ends in "thousand" should be enough – or a suspension (for starters, NASCAR wouldn’t let Childress near the pits for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway), or something else remains to be seen.
But when NASCAR said "have at it, boys," you can bet they meant the drivers and not the car owners.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly heard what happened following the Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas on Saturday afternoon (which was won by Clint Bowyer, by the way. Full story here).
Kyle Busch was passed for fifth place late in the race by Childress driver Joey Coulter and after the checkers he pulled up beside him and either gestured or shouted something (I didn’t see any contact between the two trucks, but there might have been a tap).
When Busch went to leave the garage area later, he apparently was confronted by Childress who attacked him. According to some reports, Childress – who’s 66 – put Busch – who’s 26 – in a headlock and punched him several times.
Busch did not retaliate and remained calm throughout. Unlike Childress, Busch talked to TV reporters on Sunday.
For all I know, Childress had an ulterior motive when he went after Busch. Busch is on probation for an incident with Kevin Harvick a few races ago (Harvick got out of his car and went to take a swipe at Busch, who drove off, pushing Harvick’s car out of the way in the process).
If Childress had suckered Busch into fighting back, that might have been enough for NASCAR to suspend him . As it stands, NASCAR has made it clear it does not hold Busch responsible for anything that happened and are focusing on Childress.
NASCAR is undoubtedly terribly embarrassed by this turn of events. For years, it did everything it could to get itself accepted into the boardrooms of America. While the drivers might get a little out of control on occasion, that’s allowed – within reason.
But when a car owner – an accepted member of the lodge – loses control, it sends exactly the wrong kind of message to corporate America and you can bet that NASCAR will do everything it can today to make sure that sort of nonsense doesn’t happen again.
And, in doing so, it will tell the CEOs of the world that it won't tolerate intemperate behaviour on the part of people that the sanctioning body has entrusted to represent those companies and corporations with dignity and sophistication.
You know, I was astounded to watch Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond spouting off on the telecast about how this "bad blood" could spread – that even the crews might get into it before it all ends.
I like both those guys but this time they were way off the mark. They might have been trying to whip the proletariat into a frenzy but the proletariat doesn't write the cheques.
Once upon a time, tire irons at 20 paces were acceptable in NASCAR. But not any more, boy. Not any more. Where once a local sheriff might laugh off a scuffle in the pits, it’s 2011 and people can be charged for that sort of thing.
Richard Childress should be very happy that Kyle Busch wasn’t interested in calling the cops.
Fathers who go looking for their child’s tormenter in the schoolyard are not so lucky.
– What is with all the "fuel runs" in NASCAR races these days. The Sprint Cup "race" was a snorer because everybody was saving fuel. Brad Keselowski won, with Dale Earnhardt second and Denny Hamlin third (full story here) but Kurt Busch, who led the most laps – 152 – had to pit with 10 laps to go or else he would have run out.
Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway, Carl Edwards ran out of fuel on the last lap, letting Justin Allgaier through to win – and he ran out of fuel going down to the checkers (full story here).
A week ago, at Charlotte, Earnhardt was winning the Coca-Cola 600 and ran out on the last corner.
I really wish they would just give everybody all the fuel they would ever need and let them race. I could care less about fuel economy.
– Danica Patrick dropped back into the Nationwide Series for a race and finished tenth. She is proving that she is the real deal in stock car racing. She will return to Indy cars next week at Texas.
Another good-news story out of Chicago was the return to competition of Trevor Bayne, who finished third in the race. Bayne, the Daytona 500 winner, was out of action for weeks after he was bitten by an insect.
– Speaking of Texas, and the Camping World Truck Series, Fort Frances’ Steve Arpin will make his first start of the season for sponsor Mike’s Hard Lemonade next Friday night. The last time he raced at Texas with Mike’s on his car – in 2010 in an ARCA race – he wound up in Victory Lane.
Arpin, by the way, was at Chicagoland Saturday night, spotting for the race winner, Allgaier