RICHMOND — Two crew members on the Richard Childress Racing team of driver Brian Scott were arrested Friday and charged with assault after a postrace incident in the Nationwide Series Toyotacare 250 at Richmond International Raceway.
They were involved in an altercation in the track's driver/owner motorhome area shortly after Scott and Turner Scott Motorsports driver Nelson Piquet Jr. tangled on pit road after the race.
According to Henrico County police, the incident began with a verbal argument on the track at RIR and escalated into a physical altercation at about 11:15 p.m. One of two adult male victims, neither of whom were named by Henrico police, suffered a shoulder injury.
The RCR crew members arrested are Michael A. Scearce, 50, of Mount Ulla, N.C. and Thomas F. Costello, 35, of Kannapolis, N.C., famous as the hometown of the late Dale Earnhardt. Scearce was charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault, while Costello was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault.
Turner Scott Motorsports released a statement Saturday indicating the two crew members confronted Piquet. It read in part: "Several members of another race team confronted a group that included Nelson Piquet Jr., resulting in the arrest of two individuals from the other race team."
Tensions began when Piquet ran RCR driver Scott into the wall late in the 250-lap race, then spun him out afterward. The two have a history of on-track contact, but their animosity spilled into the pits when Scott confronted Piquet afterward.
Piquet pushed Scott away and his kick appeared to land in Scott's groin area.
"He's always raced us dirty," Scott said. "Nelson decided for 15th place he was going to move me, and ran us up into the wall and did more damage than was already there.
"I was just showing my displeasure after the race and then things escalated and he kicked me below the belt."
After describing incidents between the two at Martinsville and on Friday at RIR, Piquet said, "I'm not going to take any more crap from him."
Piquet finished 14th in the race and Scott 20th. Brad Keselowski edged Kevin Harvick for the victory.
RCR team owner Richard Childress said in a statement:
"I didn't witness what took place last night outside of the race track. Our team members were walking to their cars and words were exchanged with members from another team, which led to an altercation.
"I am still learning all the exact details and, because it did happen outside of the track, local authorities became involved. We are working with them to resolve this matter. We are now concentrating on winning the Sprint Cup race (in Richmond)."
KAHNE FINE WITHOUT WIN
While NASCAR levied severe fines and penalties this week on Matt Kenseth's team for an engine connecting rod 2.7 grams too light during his win at Kansas, drivers have not been critical. Kasey Kahne finished second at Kansas, but when asked if he should've inherited the victory as part of Kenseth's penalty, he hesitated.
"From what I've read it seems like a mistake, and it also seems like something that would make zero factor in speed," Kasey Kahne said of Kenseth's engine."To me, I don't feel like they're cheating in any way.
"I don't think that's what you can even call it. To me it was more like a mistake."
EDWARDS DOESN'T WANT POLE
When Carl Edwards heard that NASCAR took away the Kansas pole from Kenseth (along with 50 points) for the infraction, he half-jokingly texted NASCAR president Mike Helton, "All right, cool, we're in the (Sprint Unlimited) shootout next year? We got the pole."
Helton's return text: "LOL (laugh out loud)."
In truth, Edwards isn't looking for that pole, and appears supportive of former teammate Kenseth.
"From what I've heard about the infraction, if it's 2.7 grams (on) one connecting rod, I personally don't feel like that makes a difference on the race track," Edwards said. "It's like Jimmy (Fennig, his crew chief) said: `We'll get a pole and earn it,' so I'm not gonna sit here and lobby."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times