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NASCAR clears Kyle Busch; Childress faces restrictions

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Saturday, Jun. 04, 2011

NASCAR on Sunday placed a variety of restrictions on team owner Richard Childress and he will face additional penalties for his involvement in a post-race fight with driver Kyle Busch following Saturday’s Truck series race at Kansas Speedway.

NASCAR President Mike Helton said he considered ejecting Childress from the track but decided a leader of the Richard Childress Racing organization needed to be on hand for Sunday’s STP 400. However, Childress was prohibited from going on pit road, attending the pre-race drivers’ meeting and was relegated to watching the race from the top of his team transporter.

“We concluded that Kyle Busch did nothing to warrant the reaction of Richard Childress,” Helton said. “Once we get today’s race concluded, we will have to decide what NASCAR’s reaction is to Richard Childress as a member of NASCAR in an action against another NASCAR member.”

While NASCAR typically announces penalties from the previous weekend on Tuesday, Helton suggested it may come as early as Monday.

Helton also emphasized Busch did nothing, either on the track in the race or in the garage, to cause a violation of his NASCAR probation, which stems from a post-race incident last month with Kevin Harvick at Darlington, S.C. In an interview with Speed prior to Sunday’s race, Busch was asked if the altercation was the result of something brewing between himself and the RCR organization.

“That’s not something I can answer. I wasn’t the aggressor or the instigator here,” he said. “So, all I can say is I was just trying to head back to my hauler and handle my business.”

According to a member of a Truck team who asked not to be identified, Childress took off his jewelry before approaching Busch in the garage area following Saturday’s Truck race and struck him with his fist. The two were separated, traded insults and then Childress grabbed Busch in a headlock and struck him again before the incident was broken up.

The crew member said Childress initiated the incident.

“We have met with all parties involved and have determined what happened (Saturday) is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by NASCAR,” a statement from the sanctioning body read. “Richard Childress’ actions were not appropriate and fell far short of the standard we expect of owners in this sport.” Busch said he would try to put the incident behind him while he awaits NASCAR’s response to the incident. “It may be a thought on everybody’s else’s mind but when you get a helmet on and get back behind the wheel of a race car, you get down to business and that’s what matters most,” he said.

The cause of Childress’ frustration was likely tied to the conclusion of the race, during which one of Childress’ drivers, Joey Coulter, and Busch bumped each other battling for fifth place on the final lap. Coulter ended up with the position but on the cool-down lap, Busch ran into the right side of Coulter’s truck.

“I learned a ton (riding) behind (Busch) and I know why those guys keep saying what they do. That was really awesome racing him,” Coulter said after the race.

“I hate we got together on the last lap. I had never gotten tight next to somebody so I was underneath him expecting to get loose and I get tight and we kind of got together.”

In interviews on pit road, in the media center or on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio following the race, Coulter never indicated any animosity with Busch.

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