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Woody: Childress Finally Reached Boiling Point

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, June 7 2011

NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, left, stepped out of character at Kansas. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer

I’ve been around Richard Childress for most of his racing career. I covered him as a struggling driver and I covered him as a successful team owner.

I’ve been to supper with him, shared beverages with him, swapped stories with him.

In all of those 40-something years I’ve never seen him lose his temper. Not once. I’ve seen him when he was upset about something. I’ve seen him when he was peeved enough to make his face turn an extra shade of crimson.

But I’d never seen him lose-it-in-the-turn furious.

Like most quiet, slow-to-anger guys, I always figured that if Richard ever DID get mad, people would know it.

Well, now Kyle Busch knows it.

Last Saturday at Kansas Speedway Kyle finally pushed one button too many, nudged Childress over the brink, and got an old-fashioned infield fanny-flogging.

When Richard punched Kyle it was The Shot Heard ‘Round the World. At least the racing world.

I was watching the Kansas race when Busch tapped the Richard Childress Racing truck

Richard Childress and Camping World driver Joey Coulter. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

of Joey Coulter on the cool-down lap. To be honest it wasn’t much of a tap, but it was completely uncalled for and for Childress it was the last straw. Busch has been involved in past altercations with RCR drivers Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton that left Richard with hefty repair bills.

I know, Dale Earnhardt used to drive for RCR and he wasn’t exactly delicate with the equipment – his and other’s. But Busch had managed to get under Richard’s skin and the Kansas flea bite – so petty and unnecessary — put him over the edge.

I’ve heard some of Kyle’s radio transmissions when things weren’t going well on the track. I’ve heard some of the things he’s said to his crew chief(s). I’ve imagined what would have happened had he been racing a generation ago and barked like that at, say, Bud Moore, Junior Johnson, Harry Hyde or Jake Elder.

I know what would have happened. If Kyle had talked like that to Bud, Junior, Harry, Jake or most any other of the old-time crew chiefs, his next ride would have been on a gurney to the infield care center.

The old-timers like Childress didn’t go looking for trouble. But if trouble kept yapping and nipping at them, eventually they’d reach their breaking point. And something would get broken.

NASCAR fined Childress $150,000 but if you noticed in his statement he never apologized. You don’t apologize for something you’re not sorry you did.

Richard is 65, Busch 26, and what Kyle got last Saturday was a history lesson about how issues were settled in the old days.

Hopefully he learned from it. If not, there could be some refresher courses in his future because there are still a few old-timers like Childress hanging around in the New NASCAR.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, June 7 2011


  • Sue Rarick says:

    I really think this has more to do with Childres and Gibbs. It was a gibbs that got Harvick banned a race. It’s been over 16 years since Childress has had a driver win a cup championship. And in the meantime Gibbs has won 3. Even in trucks. KHI which is basically Childress light lost out on a mfg championship with 4 cars to Kyle’s 1. And this year KBM cars have won the majority of truck races.

    And as far as most drivers wanting to put a good whooping on Kyle…I can understand that. The average athlete peaks at age 32 and the average age of a 1st time cup winner is slightly older at 34 years old. All 3 of Childress drivers are at or over peak age and Harvick and Burton are both over 34. And there are a lot of other drivers over 34 and the chances of them getting a championship lessen each passing year. The you have Kyle with a lot of wins who is just entering his peak years and has a lot of peak years to get his 1st championship. If I was an older driver I’m sure I’d be ticked off at the young punk with the big mouth too. Problem is he’s backing up his mouth with good performances. Even more annoying.

  • Chris says:

    How many drivers and owners would line up for a chance to punch Kyle Busch in the face for $150k? They could donate the proceeds to charity. You would raise $1.5mm easy.

    • paul says:

      The big question now is will all the drivers take up a collection to pay the $150,000. That would make more of a statement for the punk to grow up than RC’s fist did.

  • Chuck says:

    It only took Kyle’s big brother two butt whippings [Spencer and Stewart] to find out what mouth and attitude will get you. Maybe Kyle was paying attention and a second session won’t be needed. Just in case though, maybe all of us out here who have wished we could punch his lights out should send Richard a little donation to help with the fine. My guess is that the fine will be paid off quickly with money left over for the next round. Keep up the good work Richard!

  • Bob says:

    I am old, even older than Richard Childress. The thing I question the most is what 26 year old cannot outmaneuver a 65 year old man who has telegraphed his intentions? I have to beleive that Busch allowed this to happen.