Breaking Down the Childress-Busch Confrontation
I guess “have at it, boys” expires when you reach the age when you are eligible for Social Security.
Or at least that’s the way Mike Helton is looking at it in his dealings with Richard Childress this week.
In case you didn’t hear, ol’ Childress took umbrage to Kyle Busch bumping one of his trucks during the cool-down lap at the conclusion of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway last week.
And by umbrage I mean he walked up to Busch — after removing his wristwatch and handing it to his grandson, racer Austin Dillon — and punched Busch square in the face, then proceeded to put him in a headlock and punch him a few more times.
For his actions against the 26-year-old Busch, the 65-year-old Childress received a $150,000 fine from NASCAR and was placed on obligatory NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2011.
I bet Childress considers it money well spent.
Busch has quite a history with Richard Childress’ race cars. By that I mean he has a history of tearing up Childress’ equipment.
The previous episode came at Darlington last month when Busch hooked a Childress car driven by Kevin Harvick after the caution flag had waved. That resulted in Harvick coming after Busch, throwing a punch at him while he was still seated in his race car and Busch driving through Harvick’s car, pushing the empty Chevrolet into the pit wall.
Both drivers were fined $25,000 and placed on probation.
Childress has stated in the past that if Busch tears up any more of his cars, he was coming after him and, true to his word, he did. Now, I’m not saying that Busch deserved it, but I understand. Childress is the one who has to pay for it when a car gets torn up and that may cut into his hunting excursions, which ol’ RC just ain’t having.
And before I go any further let me say this I don’t have a problem with Childress’ reaction and I don’t have a problem with Busch wrecking anyone or, according to some folks, driving too aggressively. That’s part of the sport. If you drive race cars, it’s going to happen — you are going to wreck.
I have two problems with the whole situation.
First of all, and this isn’t that big of a deal, if you are going to drive the way Kyle Busch drives, you need to learn how to fight. If you have ever been to a local short track, you know that if you wreck or bump someone out of the way, there is going to be a fight. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. It’s just the way it is. I said this during the Harvick fracas after Darlington, either man up and take some punches and throw some or quit driving so aggressively. The two things go hand-in-hand.
My second issue is this — and this one is much more major than the first — why do punches warrant a harsher response from NASCAR than deliberately wrecking someone?
I assure you a 3,500-pound stock car is a much more dangerous weapon than a 65-year-old man’s fist — even if Childress is old man, grandpa strong.
Last year when Carl Edwards dumped Brad Keselowski at Atlanta, sending his car careening into the front stretch wall, he received a much smaller punishment than Childress. Busch pushed Harvick’s car into a pit wall on a busy pit road at Darlington and received a fine one-sixth of what Childress got slapped with. Which of those seems more dangerous to you?
I’ve heard the argument that Childress shouldn’t have taken it up with the driver over the bump to Joey Coulter’s truck. Well, to that I say, Kyle Busch is the owner of the No. 18 truck that bumped Childress’s truck, so that’s who he should take issue with — owner to owner.
He just didn’t know that his AARP card cancels his “have at it, boys” card.
Contact Andy Cagle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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