Reports emerged on Saturday night that team owner Richard Childress may have ended up in an off-track confrontation with Kyle Busch following the end of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 Truck Series race at Kansas.
Kyle Busch had taken exception to the way that Childress' rookie driver Joey Coulter made contact as he passed the #18 on the final lap, and gave the Richard Childress Racing #22 truck a bump in return on the cool-down lap after the chequered flag. The race was won by another RCR driver, Clint Bowyer in the #2, thwarting Busch's three-race winning streak.
But it seems that the team owner himself weighed in when the drivers returned to the pit lane. Reporter Ray Dunlap posted to his @truckpits Twitter account: "Hot news from the track. Grandpa Childress put a whipping on Kyle Busch in the truck garage. Look for big sun glasses on kubu [sic] sun," suggesting that Busch may be left sporting a black eye or two after the incident.
Dunlap actually mistyped, "KuBu" being shorthand for Kyle's brother Kurt who starts Sunday's Sprint Cup race on pole position, rather than "KyBu" for Kyle.
One tweet said that Childress had punched Busch in the face, while another online report quoted an unidentified pit crew worker from another team as saying that Busch had been in a headlock and was being pounded "pretty good" in the face before falling to the ground "in a defensive position." When he tried to get up, Childress is alleged to have promptly tried to punch him again.
The accounts seemed to suggest that it was 65-year-old Childress who instigated the altercation about 30 minutes after the end of the race. According to various reports, Childress removed his watch first and handed it to grandson Austin Dillon - who had himself been competing in the race - before walking up to Busch.
SPEED TV channel's own SPEED Center Twitter account seemed to confirm the overall story with a message of its own saying: "multiple witnesses tell SPEED there was a physical confrontation between Richard Childress and Kyle Busch after today's NASCAR Truck Series race."
NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp confirmed that officials were looking into the reports and seeking to gather details from witnesses and the principals about the alleged incident.
Busch is already on probation for all NASCAR events through to June 15 following his pit road confrontation with Kevin Harvick - who drives for RCR in the Sprint Cup - after the Darlington race in May. As well as being the driver of the #18, Busch is also the truck owner.
Series rookie Coulter finished fifth while Kyle Busch finished just behind in sixth. Busch is reported as saying immediately after the race that “We had a horrible truck all day ... I thought my truck was a little bit better than that in practice than what we showed today. We just fought it."
“That was really awesome racing him,” Coulter had said about the last lap incident. "I hate we got together on the last lap. I had never gotten next to somebody so I was underneath him expecting to get loose and I got tight and we kind of got together.
"For whatever reason, that corner, where he was on my quarter panel, I just got extremely tight. [I] cleared him for just a split second, my spotter called 'clear' and when I jumped back in the throttle, he kind of got back on me and really tightened me up."
When asked what happened when Busch drove up to him after the flag, Coulter joked that - according to the spotters - Busch was just congratulating him.
What exactly caused the on-track incident to flare up and spill out into a reported physical confrontation in pit road 30 minutes later is unknown, but accounts suggest that Childress took serious exception to what Busch was heard to say about the on-track clash with Coulter.Full race results