Tensions rise post-race between Townley, Gallagher
July 11, 2014, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
NEWTON, Iowa -- Who says there's no kissing and making up in NASCAR?
Two on-track run-ins blew up in a big way on pit road after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway. Timothy Peters and Ron Hornaday Jr. raised their voices in an animated discussion about their collision in the 63rd of 200 laps, then John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher were at the center of a scrum between their crews, culminating with the former taking a swing at the latter.
In both instances, there was at least a dose of reconciliation later. Hornaday and Peters bumped fists and, though still unhappy, agreed to move on. Townley, calmed down after being escorted to the Camping World Truck Series hauler by a NASCAR official, talked further with Gallagher in much more relaxed tones, and the two eventually hugged it out.
The first incident percolated after Peters' Red Horse Racing No. 17 Toyota slid up the race track coming out of Turn 4 and made contact with Hornaday's No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevy. As the two circled around to the backstretch, Peters nosed into the left-rear fender of Hornaday's truck in retaliation, spinning his rival around to bring out the second caution of the race.
Though Peters' spotter apologized profusely over the team radio for the miscommunication, it didn't stop the two drivers from hashing out their differences afterward.
"It was a little bit of everything," Peters said as he strolled back to his team hauler. "The spotter ... you kind of get that feeling from Ron every week when you race close sometimes. There's no sense in having two torn-up vehicles. It sucks that we both had two torn-up vehicles, but it hurt him as much as it hurt me. So, it is what it is."
Hornaday acknowledged the misstep that led to their collision, but agreed that the two would move on.
"Oh, you have to," Hornaday, a four-time series champion, said after the two bumped fists. "It's one of those deals where the spotter cleared him and I was already there. I lifted once and he went down, so I figured OK, he was going to give it to me. So I came back up and all of a sudden he came back up because his spotter cleared him. We both can be at fault, but I'll blame him more than he blames me and that's all there is to it."
As for the brushback pitch he received from Peters, Hornaday wondered out loud if the contact had come during the caution period, recalling a similar situation involving himself and Darrell Wallace Jr. in 2013. Hornaday wrecked Wallace during a yellow that spring at Rockingham Speedway, drawing a $25,000 fine and a 25-point penalty.
"That was to get a yellow, I guess," Hornaday said of Peters' push. "If there (already) was a yellow out, he better get fined 25 grand like I did."
After the two made a provisional attempt at peace, more fireworks erupted further up pit road. The crews for Gallagher and Townley engaged in a shouting match, with NASCAR officials stepping in to control the situation. With Townley restrained and Gallagher trying to speak his mind, Townley threw a fist that failed to connect before the two were ultimately separated.
"It's happened once or twice before, unfortunately enough," Gallagher, the 11th-place finisher, said of post-race fisticuffs. "It's never fun when it happens. Que sera, sera -- what will be, will be."
Townley stormed off, changed clothes in his hauler, then made a beeline for the officials' hauler for a consultation. Afterward his post-race talk, he admitted that he and Gallagher had "some history" of being at odds, but he spoke in calm, measured tones after a cooling-off period.
"I went berserk almost," Townley said. "I've never been that mad before. I don't know what came over me. I guess it was just two strikes and he was out. I was tired of it. ...
"I think if he apologizes, I'm going to say I'm sorry. There's no excuse for the way I acted. That's not the way I want to represent Zaxby's. That's not how any sponsor wants to be represented. I'm a professional. I've never done anything like that before. The only time I've been in a fight, I was like 15 years old."
Moments later, Townley was beside the No. 23 truck, talking with Gallagher in a reasonable exchange of opinions. After a warm, humid night at Iowa Speedway, all the tempers had eventually cooled.