Several of #39-Ryan Newman’s crewmen confronted #51-Kurt Busch on Saturday night at Darlington Raceway following an ill-advised decision by Busch to do a burnout through Newman’s pit box. After Busch had a flat tire and crashed with six laps remaining – an incident which also collected Newman – the Phoenix Racing driver lost his cool and began yelling on the team radio. When Busch completed his pit stop to fix damage shortly after the wreck, he & did a loud, angry burnout while leaving his pit box. The burnout startled fans in the stands and put up a huge plume of smoke, an expression of Busch’s frustration at a promising night gone bad. But while doing the burnout, Busch drove through Newman’s pit box as well – and several Newman crew members were still over the wall after recently completing service on the #39 car. Among the angry crewmen was Newman’s gas man, Andy Rueger, who went to the #51 hauler to await Busch’s arrival. Rueger planned to confront Busch immediately after the race. But Busch’s team knew Newman’s crew was upset, and so crew chief Nick Harrison instructed Busch to stop at the entrance of pit road and leave the car there instead. The driver was livid on the radio and had been screaming obscenities during the final few laps, and the team felt it would be a good idea for him just to get off the track. Words were exchanged between the crewmen and Busch, and a NASCAR official fell onto Busch’s hood in the process. Though contact with Rueger sparked the official’s tumble, NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton said the official just lost his footing. It’s unclear whether NASCAR will issue any penalties in this situation. If NASCAR feels its official tumbled onto the hood on his own, then Newman’s gas man could go unpunished.(SB Nation)
AND: #39-Ryan Newman had strong words for #51-Kurt Busch after their incident Saturday night. Here’s what Newman told [Dustin Long] in a one-on-one conversation about the incident:
“I’m not sure what happened. It’s easy to see and it’s easy to say that Kurt blew a fuse again. I’m not sure why he did it and tried to run over our guys and NASCAR officials. And nobody is. I think the chemical imbalance speaks for itself. Kurt drilled me in pit lane and said that he was taking his helmet off and he didn’t see where he was going, which I’m pretty sure there were 42 other guys that are taking their helmets off and doing whatever for the last 10 years and that’s the first time that’s happened to me. Circumstances I think are that he lied and was so frustrated that he doesn’t know how to deal with his anger.
“From my standpoint, that’s the second offense on Kurt when he did retaliation on (teammate Tony) Stewart’s crew and the officials there. I can voice my opinion on what they should do to him but that’s not going to solve anything.
(YOU WENT IN TO NASCAR HAULER VOLUNTARILY?)
“No. They asked me to come in because they didn’t know everything that happened on pit road. They just really wanted to know my side of that story. That was it. They said you’re good to go.
(HE SAID HE JUST HIT YOU ON PIT ROAD)
“He said he was taking his helmet off, which I think was a lie.
(ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT HIM AS A DRIVER)
“Everybody has for the last 10 years. He’s proven that. When you can’t keep a job, it’s pretty obvious.”(Posted to Twitter by Dustin Long)(5-13-2012)
UPDATE: NASCAR is reviewing the fracas to see if penalties are warranted, said vice president of competition Ryan Pemberton. A Sprint Cup official fell back on Busch’s car, but Pemberton didn’t think it was an aggressive move toward the official. “We’re looking at film, we’re still getting all the facts straight,” Pemberton said after the race. “We haven’t talked to Kurt; we talked to Ryan a little bit. He talked to Kurt afterwards and he told him he didn’t mean to hit him, he was taking his helmet off and looked up and he’d run into the back of him. So right now that’s really all the facts that we have.” Busch did not talk to reporters following the Southern 500.(Associated Press/ESPN)(5-14-2012)
If you’ll look at video footage you’ll notice that the crew guys for Ryan Newman’s team started the fight….so if penalties are to be awarded it would be for those guys. Drivers’ points should not be taken away in this instance…but we’ll see what happens.