Clint Bowyer dominated the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday to finally win a major NASCAR race in his home state. Bowyer, from Emporia, one hundred miles west of Kansas City had managed to come second in 2007 and then again a year later but had to wait until now to enjoy the victory celebrations, the burnouts, in front of his Kansas fans.
He led 124 of the 167 laps, such was his dominance, and although he had misgivings about the chosen strategy when he started from eleventh place at the final green flag restart on lap 116 it took Bowyer just six laps to fight his way to the front of the field, a position he maintained for the final forty-six laps.
“We’ve come close here,” Bowyer said. “We’ve had good runs here, but we just haven’t been able to seal the deal. To finally be able to do a burnout on the frontstretch in front of that crowd is big, man. It’s a good feeling. This place means a lot to me. I watched this place being built. I dreamed of being able to race here in anything, and to be able to roll into victory lane … is pretty cool.”
Second place went to Truck Series regular Johnny Sauter after fending off a challenge from Todd Bodine who ground down the distance between them and felt he could have taken the runner-up spot but simply ran out of laps. Both Saunter and Bodine admitted there was nothing they could do about the no. 2 Chevrolet ahead of them.
Behind that pair James Buescher took fourth ahead of Joey Coulter who passed Kyle Busch on the very last lap and unwittingly triggered a sequence of events that was to have significant ramifications over the following forty-eight hours.
It would seem Busch was less than thrilled with the way Coulter had passed him and so after the checkered flag he pulled alongside Coulter’s Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. There was contact between the two trucks as the driver of the number 18 showed his displeasure.
Knowing that Busch was still on probation for an altercation with another RCR driver, Kevin Harvick, at Darlington when Harvick tried to punch Busch whilst the latter was sat in his car in pit lane and Busch knocked Harvick’s car into the pit wall to make good his escape Childress was expecting to see Busch called to the NASCAR hauler to answer for his actions. NASCAR took no action.
Specific details of what happened next are imprecise but what is known is that Childress, apparently tired of Busch causing damage to his cars when the mood takes him, challenged Busch in the garage some time after the race. At one point the 65 year old Childress had Busch in a headlock and punched him several times. Eventually they were separated and the team owner was restrained from inflicting any further force.
On Sunday morning NASCAR officials met Busch, Childress and Joe Gibbs who owns the cars that Busch drives in the Sprint Cup Series. It was decided by the officials that Busch had not violated the terms of his probation and was not the instigator of the altercation. They considered ordering Childress from the Speedway but decided his presence was needed to run the four cars he had entered in Sunday afternoon’s Sprint Cup race. Childress was therefore permitted to stay at the track with some restrictions imposed – the restrictions weren’t made openly available but were believed to include a ban from pit lane during the race.
On Monday the NASCAR officials reconvened to decide what appropriate action to take. They announced that Childress has been fined $150,000 and placed on probation through to December 31st.
In a statement issued NASCAR said, “The penalty we have announced today for Richard Childress reflects NASCAR's response to the incident at Kansas Speedway on Saturday. We feel this action is appropriate and are confident all parties involved understand our position on this matter and will move forward appropriately.”
Childress in turn issued a statement which explained his actions whilst falling short of an apology. “First of all, I’m responsible for my actions, plain and simple. As you know, I am a very principled person and have a passion for what we do at Richard Childress Racing. I believe passionately in defending my race teams and my sponsor partners. In this instance, I let that passion and my emotions get the best of me. I accept the penalty NASCAR announced today and, as a company, we will now focus on this week’s races at Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.”
Texas is where the Camping World Truck Series next meet up to race on Friday evening.