Woody: Childress Finally Reached Boiling Point
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Comments