KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Push came to shove between Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick on Saturday afternoon at Kansas Speedway.
The two NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff drivers came to blows on pit road after Reddick’s No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet made contact with Custer’s Stewart-Haas Racing No. 00 Ford shortly after a restart with five laps left in the Kansas Lottery 300, the first race of the Xfinity Series’ Round of 8.
Custer brushed the wall and faded to an 11th-place finish as Reddick drove on to finish a close second to first-time winner Brandon Jones.
Custer approached Reddick on pit road and placed a hand on his left shoulder, stating, “you can be a dumb(expletive),” then Reddick retaliated by grabbing Custer by the firesuit. That’s when the shoving began and the altercation escalated.
“I thought I could just go up and talk to him, but he went berserk when I laid a hand on him,” Custer said after the scuffle. “I wasn’t going to rough him up, I just put a hand on him.
“Everybody just grabbed onto each other as hard as they could,” he added.
Custer wound up on the pavement after crews for both teams converged on their scrap.
“I was just frustrated that he can’t keep his car on the bottom (lane) and then runs up and puts us in the wall,” Custer said. “I mean, if he wants to wreck cars and put them in the wall from time to time, that’s fine, but when it affects me, I’m not very happy with it. I just went over to talk to him and say that.”
On the contrary, Reddick felt that it was Custer who was the aggressor after quickly walking down to approach the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing driver.
“I understand Cole’s frustration 100 percent,” Reddick said. “We’re trying to lock ourselves into Homestead and he came up to talk after the race and, see him put a hand on me, I put a hand on him back. That’s just how it’s going to be if we’re going to have a conversation that way. Out of breath, but had a little fight there with some people. It was a little bit of fun. … I think a lot of Cole and his driving ability and a lot of that team, so just heat of the moment. We’re pissed off. I’m sure we’ll talk about it soon, maybe today, tomorrow, who knows, maybe have a beer over it.”
Although the dust may clear sooner rather than later between the two competitors, their opinions on what went down don’t line up at the moment.
“It was more hands than words before we could even begin to talk,” Reddick said. “From there, other people were jumping in and at that point, you’re just trying to defend yourself. It is what it is, it’s part of it.”
“It was just hands on the shoulders and then I did it right back,” he added. “From there, I get grabbed from behind and got headlocked into the ground and from there, really don’t know what’s going on.”
Reddick indicated that he wasn’t mad after the altercation, but he was more frustrated in how certain Stewart-Haas Racing crew members jumped into the tussle.
“Just disappointed in his crew members not letting us handle it amongst ourselves,” Reddick said. “Some guys want to take cheap shots and hop in on somebody that’s not giving somebody else any attention. It’s just between me and him, and that’s the way it should have been. Obviously, it didn’t go that way.”
“I know who did it,” he added. “I know whose face it is. I know his name. Don’t care to, but I’ll remember that.”
Contributing: Staff reports