News & Media


Conway, RGM in war of words after altercation

March 08, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Conway claims Gordon assaulted him; Gordon says Conway just wants publicity

While Robby Gordon has not had much to say about the incident that occurred between him and fellow NASCAR driver Kevin Conway in the garage area at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Friday, Conway is getting more talkative about it all the time.

Late Monday night, Conway issued a statement through a public relations spokesman in which said, in part, that "Robby Gordon, who has a long history of issues in NASCAR, decided to ambush me in the garage area at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, completely unprovoked."

"He, uh, basically just grabbed me, and grabbed me by the throat and got me down on the ground. And it was pretty crazy but pretty short. And we have a ton of witnesses that saw it and have signed statements."

--KEVIN CONWAY

Conway went on in the statement to accuse Gordon of confronting Conway's car owner, Joe Nemechek, before "shoving him and telling him that he was looking for me and [was] going to assault me. We have many witnesses, including a crew chief, [who] signed a police report documenting the truth of his physical attack on me.

"Situations like this are not good for our sport. It's one thing if we were racing each other and I wrecked him or he wrecked me. That's an entirely different situation. It's very unfortunate that he chose to physically attack me to address his rage. Our fans, sponsors and NASCAR expect and deserve more from our competitors than this bullish, illegal behavior that was displayed by Robby against me."

Repeated attempts to reach Gordon -- whom NASCAR has been placed on probation through the end of the season -- on Tuesday were unsuccessful. But a statement was released Tuesday evening by Robby Gordon Motorsports in which RGM alleged the altercation arose from the "failure" of Conway and his sponsor, ExtenZe, to "pay RGM several hundred thousand dollars that they owe for promotional and driving benefits they received from participating in a series of Sprint Cup races with cars prepared and supported by RGM. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Conway and his sponsor have failed to honor their financial obligations to NASCAR teams. Conway and ExtenZe are also in litigation with Front Row Motorsports over unpaid NASCAR sponsorship obligations."

The statement released by RGM also accused Conway of using the incident to create publicity for himself.

"The brief exchange that occurred between Conway and Robby Gordon is the kind of thing that is normally handled between the involved parties," the RGM statement said. "It is unfortunate that Conway has chosen to use this insignificant event as a means of attracting publicity to himself, and it is particularly unfortunate that he has done so by making a series of false reports to others. Contrary to Conway's account, no punches were thrown. The simple truth is that Conway voluntarily and aggressively engaged in the exchange with Robby Gordon, and neither man was injured."

Meanwhile, Conway stepped up the rhetoric and told quite a different story Tuesday during an interview with hosts Rick Benjamin and Chocolate Myers on the Sirius NASCAR radio show.

"It was a little crazy, for sure," Conway told the radio hosts when Benjamin asked him to describe what had happened between the drivers. "Robby, I guess he went up to Joe Nemechek before qualifying and confronted Joe and asked where I was, said he was going to knock my teeth in, and then went and I guess waited for me over by Joe's garage stall. He was actually in Joe's hauler and came out and I was standing by Joe's garage stall and, more or less, that was [when he] came up and it wasn't really much of a verbal altercation or anything.

"He, uh, basically just grabbed me, and grabbed me by the throat and got me down on the ground. And it was pretty crazy but pretty short. And we have a ton of witnesses that saw it and have signed statements. It's really unfortunate to even have to address a situation like this, you know? It would be one thing if we were out on the race track [knocking] the doors off each other and I wrecked him or something like that. That's kind of an entirely different situation. That's kind of in the DNA of racers and that's what's part of our sport.

"But when things happen that are completely unrelated to anything on the race track and unprovoked, it changes things a little bit."

Las Vegas police officer Barbara Morgan told The Associated Press last Saturday that Conway filed a misdemeanor battery complaint after the quarrel that occurred about 5 p.m. local time last Friday. Morgan said police did not witness the exchange and no arrest was made, and no summons issued. She said police will interview any possible witnesses and turn the investigation over to the Clark County district attorney in Las Vegas for a decision on whether charges will be filed.

"It is unfortunate that Conway has chosen to use this insignificant event as a means of attracting publicity to himself, and it is particularly unfortunate that he has done so by making a series of false reports to others."

--RGM statement

Morgan said then she did not know how long the process will take.

Conway competed in seven Cup races in 2010 for Gordon and the two are currently involved in lawsuits as a result of that relationship. When asked by Benjamin during Tuesday's radio show if the altercation was the result of possible "unpaid sponsorship money out there," Conway admitted that was possible and said that the matter would be settled later by the courts.

"The one unique thing about it is our contracts are all public record now because of the ongoing litigation, so I would encourage people before they draw judgment to read the contracts and really understand the facts," said Conway, who remains a paid spokesman for ExtenZe. "So as far as anything that's an unpaid debt or anything, it's certainly not a matter of ExtenZe just not paying their bills. There are obviously contract disputes and that's why things have gone to the legal system. You go back to Braun Racing and Joe Nemecheck and teams that we've worked with [and] everybody's had no issues whatsoever in the past. They've done what they said they would do."

Conway added that he feels like he is "a little bit like the tennis ball kind of caught in the middle" of the dispute that he believes is between ExtenZe, Gordon's race team and Front Row Motorsports, which Conway also drove for previously with ExtenZe as the primary sponsor. A Front Row spokesman confirmed Tuesday that the organization is continuing to pursue litigation in the matter, with "the next round in the courts" due to take place sometime this summer.

RGM further alleged in its statement released Tuesday evening that Conway and his sponsor were well aware that they were not meeting their financial obligations last season.

"Conway and ExtenZe have unsatisfied obligations to pay RGM several hundred thousand dollars; ExtenZe actively pursued and accepted the NASCAR promotional benefits for which it has not paid; Conway actively pursued and accepted the benefits of driving a race car in the Sprint Cup Series for which RGM has not been paid; and both Conway and ExtenZe knew that RGM expected to be paid in full for its work and costs in preparing and supporting that race car," the statement alleged. "Conway would better serve the interests of our sport and the fans by making sure that he meets his personal financial obligations to our teams before engaging in publicity seeking behavior of this type.

"This is a matter that will now play out in the courts. RGM does not intend to comment further at this time."