'Embarrassed' Kvapil at track after arrest
October 10, 2013, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com
CONCORD, N.C. -- An "embarrassed" Travis Kvapil returned to the race track on Thursday, and will compete this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway despite a domestic assault charge stemming from his arrest earlier in the week.
The BK Racing driver was arrested Tuesday on domestic violence charges, according to the Mooresville Police Department, and released from custody Wednesday morning. Kvapil's race team is allowing the former Camping World Truck Series champion to remain in the No. 93 car for Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series event.
"Obviously there was a domestic situation Tuesday night with my wife, and regret that that happened," Kvapil said after his qualifying lap. "Because it is a family, personal matter, we ask for respect and privacy in this situation, and we'll try to work it out together as a family. Obviously embarrassed about the situation. Don’t like the negative effects that is has brought on, so I apologize to NASCAR, my team, the owners of my team, my fans, and anyone else who was impacted by what happened Tuesday night."
Mooresville police Capt. Joseph Cooke said the department received an emergency call Tuesday evening that an assault was taking place. Responding officers arriving at the home found Kvapil and his wife Jennifer, and determined there was enough probable cause that a domestic assault had occurred. Kvapil was charged with one misdemeanor count of assault on a female, and one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment.
Kvapil was released from custody on bond Wednesday morning. He was back in his No. 93 car Thursday afternoon for initial practice for Saturday night's Bank of America 500.
"BK Racing understands the severity of the situation and we don't condone the actions that Travis has been accused of," BK Racing co-owner Ron Devine said in a statement. "We feel it's important to let the system take its course. For that reason, we have elected to support Travis and his family and keep Travis in the car for this weekend's race. Further comment will be available as additional information becomes available."
NASCAR said it was monitoring the issue, but did not prevent the driver from taking to the race track.
"NASCAR does not condone the actions with which Travis Kvapil has been charged and we are disappointed to learn of this incident," the sanctioning body said Thursday in a statement. "We have been in close communication with the race team and are in the process of gathering as much information as possible. NASCAR takes this matter very seriously and will continue to monitor the situation as it moves forward."
Kvapil said he was worried about whether he would be allowed to race.
"Definitely concerned about that," he said. "My first concern was my children, my family. Get that taken care of and make sure everything's where it needs to be there. Secondary is whether I was going to be in the car or not, and trying to take NASCAR's stand and the team's stand and kind of where everybody stood and trying to figure it out."
A 37-year-old native of Janesville, Wis., Kvapil was the 2003 Truck Series champion, winning nine races in four seasons on that circuit. He has competed at the Sprint Cup level for the past two years with BK Racing, which was formed from the assets of the former Red Bull team. His best finish this season was 16th at Bristol Motor Speedway in August.
Kvapil convinced his race team he could be focused on this car this weekend despite the cloud hanging over him.
"That was one of the team's concerns," he said after qualifying 41st for Saturday's race. "I had a lot of conversations with my owner Ron Devine. He's been a huge supporter of mine, not only through this but for the last year and a half with this brand-new race team, BK Racing. He asked me if I thought I could get the job done, and I told him I think I can. When I strap in, when I step into this garage area, I'm focused on this race car and what it takes to do the best job we can throughout the weekend, in particular Saturday night."
News of Kvapil's arrest was a surprise in a sport where competitor behavior is often heavily influenced by sponsors, and drivers rarely end up in the police blotter.
"I don’t think anybody knows all of the details yet, so to would be hard for me to comment exactly on what did or didn't happen," Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick said at the 1.5-mile Charlotte track. "I think everybody wants the sport to be represented in the right way."
"I was shocked when I heard about it," five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson added. "But it's not good for our sport for sure. I think that most realize it's an individual situation, and had nothing to do with the team or the sponsor. … It's not good press. It can't be helpful by any means. And it is pretty rare, and I think that’s something we all kind of pride ourselves on, that we don’t have a lot of that drama in our sport. But I'm sure there is a negative impact to a small degree."
It's certainly had a negative impact on Kvapil.
"It's been tough," the driver said. "I guess you really find out your true friends, your supporters. It's been quite an eye-opening experience. Definitely been through some things that I never would like to be a part of again. Definitely, it's a serious situation. We are going to let it take its course, let it work itself out. Just kind of one day at a time.