Scott-Piquet fight goes below the belt
April 26, 2013, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
RICHMOND, Va. -- Pit-road skirmishes and disagreements between drivers often involve challenging one's manhood. Much less frequently does it wind up with one driver kicking another in his manhood.
Such was the case between Nelson Piquet Jr. and Brian Scott at the end of Friday night's ToyotaCare 250 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Richmond International Raceway, where a relatively calm, clean race turned intense over the last 50 laps. By the time the crews had finished scuffling and the post-race bumps were done, both drivers found themselves called to the series hauler for a consultation with officials and two arrests were made when the conflict spilled over into the motorcoach lot.
Scott suffered minor damage in a crash involving Justin Allgaier and Austin Dillon with 39 laps left and was limping home toward what he thought would be a 15th-place finish on the .75-mile track. But a brush from Piquet with about 10 laps to go nudged Scott up to the outside wall on the exit of Turn 2, costing him more positions.
Scott cut across Piquet's path on the cool-down lap before the two parked on pit road. Once both dismounted, Piquet shoved Scott away before kicking him.
"A part of me told me that he was going to hit me for 15th place, and then he did," said Scott, who wound up 20th. "I was just showing my displeasure with him after the race and then things escalated. I went to talk to him, I was a little heated and the camera probably shows it, but he kicks me right below the belt, which I think is a below-the-belt type of shot."
The two were summoned to the series hauler, where the two had a lengthy discussion together with officials. Both went their separate ways after the talking-to.
"I think we both just got frustrated with each other and things happen," Piquet said as he marched back to his team hauler. "We both got angry and it's one of those things. Both of us think that we're right and we're both frustrated, so I mean, it's racing. We're racing hard and it happens. I'm sorry."
Tensions between the two teams had already been stoked by the earlier incident between Dillon of Richard Childress Racing and Allgaier of Turner Scott Motorsports. The incident between RCR's Scott and Turner Scott's Piquet only intensified the conflict.
But it apparently wasn't over then. Two adult males were taken into custody after a physical altercation near the driver/owner parking lot at the track, according to Lt. Linda Toney with the Henrico County (Va.) Police Division. Police did not release names in conjunction with the arrest, but said that the assault stemmed from a verbal argument in the infield area of the track.
Richard Childress Racing later confirmed its involvement in the incident.
"We are aware an incident took place outside of the track's infield following Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway involving members of our team; and others from another team," the RCR statement said. "We are cooperating with the local authorities in this matter."
The altercation turned physical outside the track at approximately 11:15 p.m. ET, about an hour after the checkered flag. Police indicated that one of the two adult victims has a shoulder injury.
Toney said in an email that "further information is not likely to be available while the investigation continues" and that updates would be provided as that information becomes available.
Series director Wayne Auton said shortly after meeting with Scott and Piquet in the series hauler that there would be no penalties assessed to either driver based on their pit-road actions.
"We let Nelson and Brian talk and handle it amongst themselves," Auton said. "They had a good talk in there, things went very well and we'll head on down to Talladega."
Scott, who tongue-in-cheek tweeted after the race that he'll need a protective cup sewn into his firesuit for future events, said Friday night's run-in with Piquet was not an isolated incident.
"Every time we've raced against each other -- it's been in the trucks, in the Nationwide race," Scott said. "He races me really dirty, he runs into me every time he can and he decided to move me for 15th, which there's no need. … He could've easily passed me cleanly, but we have a history. He doesn't like me for whatever reason, and he chose to move me. We got into the outside fence and did even more damage and cost us a couple points. More than anything, it's just an accumulation of a lot of racing together and him always racing me dirty."
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