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Category: Richard Childress

NASCAR's Kevin Harvick gets new crew chief for 2012

Frustrated with finishing third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings for the second consecutive year, Kevin Harvick will get a new crew chief for the 2012 season.

HarvickHarvick's team Richard Childress Racing said Shane Wilson would replace Gil Martin on Harvick's No. 29 Chevrolet. Martin was named director of team operations.

"Kevin came to me after the Phoenix race a couple of weeks ago and asked for a change," team owner Richard Childress said in a statement.

Wilson previously was crew chief on RCR's No. 33 car driven by Clint Bowyer, but Bowyer is leaving to join Michael Waltrip Racing next year. Before that, Wilson was Harvick's crew chief in the second-tier Nationwide Series in 2006 when Harvick won the series title.

Wilson "has a lot of experience now in the Sprint Cup Series and I look forward to working with him again," Harvick said.

Harvick, 35, won four Cup races this season but the Bakersfield native finished behind champion Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards in the title standings.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick last Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Credit: Jerry Markland / Getty Images

NASCAR's Chase leads weekend's motor racing

A bit of controversy hangs over the start of NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup, the 10-race championship playoff that opens Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Jimmie Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, with four wins apiece in the Sprint Cup Series so far this season, lead the 12 drivers in the Chase with 2,012 points each. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon follows with 2,009.

Harvick won last week’s race in Richmond, Va., after his Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard spun out late in the race to bring out a caution flag. Harvick then beat Gordon off pit road and held off Gordon for the victory.

Gordon later said the timing of Menard’s spinout was “a little fishy,” and NASCAR President Mike Helton said the sanctioning body would look into it.

But team owner Richard Childress said in a statement Friday “there were no team orders” given to Menard to spin to help Harvick's cause and that Menard “wouldn’t have spun out on purpose even if he had been asked.”

Jimmie Johnson, aiming for a record sixth consecutive title, also is back in the Chase along with 2004 champion Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch’s older brother.

Johnson and Kurt Busch have had a running feud in recent weeks, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- another Chase contender and teammate of Johnson's at Hendrick Motorsports-- was asked Friday if he was curious about how the Johnson-Busch spat might play out this weekend.

“It bores the [expletive] out of me, to be honest,” Earnhardt said. “I’ve got my own damn problems to worry about.”

The Izod IndyCar Series, meanwhile, is racing Sunday for the final time at the Twin Ring Motegi track in Japan, where Danica Patrick won her only IndyCar event in 2008. Patrick is moving to NASCAR stock-car racing next year.

With three races left in the season, the IndyCar championship is coming down to a battle between current point leader Dario Franchitti, who is shooting for his third consecutive championship and fourth overall, and Team Penske’s Will Power, who is only five points behind Franchitti and seeking his first title.

In drag racing, the six-race title playoff in the National Hot Rod Assn.’s Full Throttle Series opens this weekend with the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals in Charlotte, N.C.

Del Worsham currently leads the NHRA’s top-fuel class by 30 points over Antron Brown, and Mike Neff leads the funny car division by 30 points over Jack Beckman. The series finale is Nov. 10-13 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

And on Saturday night, late-model stock cars make their last appearance of the season as part of a multi-race lineup at the half-mile Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. Brandon Davis of Huntington Beach currently leads the point standings in that series.

The Formula One series is off this weekend ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix on Sept. 25.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, left, and Jeff Gordon take in the sights of Chicago ahead of Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway that opens NASCAR's Chase title playoff. Credit: David Banks/Getty Images


NASCAR owner Richard Childress says fans tried to pay his fine from reported fight with Kyle Busch


NASCAR team owner Richard Childress said Friday that fans sent in donations to help cover his $150,000 fine for his reported fight with driver Kyle Busch, but that he would be paying the fine himself.

"We had a lot of fans ... send in donations last week toward our fine," Childress told reporters at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., site of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

"I am going to pay it personally," Childress said in a transcript released by Team Chevy Racing. "All that money that has been sent in, that is still coming in, we're going to take and donate [it] to the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"At least in a bad situation, something good will come out of it," he said.

NASCAR levied the fine on Childress after the 65-year-old grandfather reportedly grabbed Busch, 26, in a headlock and punched him in the garage at Kansas Speedway after a NASCAR truck race last Saturday.

Childress reportedly was angry at how the always aggressive Busch had treated some of Childress' drivers on the track in recent weeks, including his driver in the truck race, Joey Coulter. Before that, Childress driver Kevin Harvick and Busch tangled on pit road immediately after a Cup race in Darlington, S.C.

"I am passionate about my race teams, our fans, and I let my emotions get ... come in front of my passion," Childress said. "Hopefully Kyle and myself will both end up learning something from this."

Separately, Busch -- who was not penalized for any actions at Kansas -- told reporters at Pocono that his contact with Coulter's truck during that race's cool-down lap was "a congratulatory bump" but that it still "tipped him [Childress] over the edge."

"There was no malicious intent to be involved in hurting or damaging an RCR [Richard Childress Racing] vehicle," Busch said in a transcript released by Toyota Motorsports. "I feel like I've acted in the utmost respect to every case that's come up my way and has been thrown in front of me."


NASCAR owner Richard Childress reportedly fights Kyle Busch

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Richard Childress speaks to the media Friday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press

NASCAR fines Richard Childress $150,000 for reported fight with Kyle Busch

NASCAR levied a $150,000 fine on longtime team owner Richard Childress on Monday for an incident in which Childress reportedly fought with driver Kyle Busch in the garage at Kansas Speedway.

Childress1 Childress, 65, also was placed on probation until Dec. 31 for what NASCAR described only as "an altercation," but that multiple media outlets said involved Childress getting Busch in a headlock and punching him more than once before they were separated Saturday after a NASCAR truck race.

NASCAR also issued a rare additional statement along with the penalty, saying it was "confident all parties involved understand our position on this matter and will move forward appropriately."

Childress responded with a statement saying he was "responsible for my actions." He said he accepted the penalty and that he let "passion and my emotions get the best of me."

Childress has been a team owner in what is now NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series, along with its lower-level car and truck series, for decades, and he won six Cup championships with the late Dale Earnhardt. Busch, 26, whose nicknames include "Rowdy," is one of the sport's most controversial figures.

The fight came Saturday after Busch had tangled on the track with one of Childress' drivers, Joey Coulter, in the truck race at Kansas Speedway. Last month, Busch also had a run-in with Kevin Harvick, one of Childress' drivers in the Cup series, after a race in Darlington, S.C.

Childress' action quickly ignited a debate over whether he overreacted or whether Busch was asking for trouble.

A number of NASCAR fans posted comments on the Los Angeles Times' website siding with Childress, and some motor-racing writers agreed. Others argued that regardless of Busch's on-track actions, Childress had gone too far.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR team owner Richard Childress at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 16. Credit: Terry Renna / Associated Press

NASCAR owner Richard Childress reportedly fights Kyle Busch

When NASCAR ushered in its "Boys, have at it" doctrine, who knew it would include grandpas as well?

Childress NASCAR said Richard Childress, the 65-year-old team owner and grandfather, was involved in an "incident" with the feisty driver Kyle Busch at Kansas Speedway after a NASCAR truck race Saturday and now faces possible penalties.

Multiple media reports said Childress was miffed that Busch, 26, bumped into Childess driver Joey Coulter on the cool-down lap after the two drivers had battled for position in the race.

Childress reportedly went to the garage area, put Busch in a headlock and punched him more than once before the two were separated.

"Richard Childress' actions were not appropriate," NASCAR said in a statement Sunday before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, adding that it would "announce our actions regarding this incident Monday."

Childress has been a team owner for four decades, and won six stock-car championships with the late Dale Earnhardt, the sport's iconic "Intimidator." His current drivers are Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard.

Childress' frustration with Busch also might have stemmed from an incident last month when Harvick and Busch tangled after the race in Darlington, S.C., in which Harvick threw a punch into Busch's window on pit road and Busch responded by using his car to push Harvick's car out of the way. 

Both drivers were placed on probation until June 15, but NASCAR said Sunday that Busch's involvement in the incident with Childress did not violate his probation "and no further action is required."

NASCAR last year introduced the "Boys, have at it" philosophy whereby drivers were given more leeway to be aggressive and show emotion without fear of penalties. But drivers still have been penalized in some cases for what NASCAR deemed egregious behavior.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR team owner Richard Childress walks away from the stock-car hauler after meeting with officials about his reported fight with driver Kyle Busch at Kansas Speedway. Credit: John Harrelson / Getty Images


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