Ricky Stenhouse Jr. confirms he and Richard Childress have made nice

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. meets with the media Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo: Greg Engle)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Richard Childress have made amends. Stenhouse confirmed that Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway ahead of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

It all started the previous Sunday at North Wilkesboro Speedway during NASCAR’s All-Star Race.

Richard Childress Racing driver Kyle Busch and Stenhouse got together on the track on lap 2. Stenhouse was sent into the wall and out of the race. Busch was able to continue but Stenhouse was trapped inside the track infield at a track with no tunnel. Forced to wait out the race, he did just that but waited for Busch in the garage.

Busch got out of his car and marched to the garage. The two drivers faced off, Stenhouse threw a punch and soon masses of people including Stenhouse’s dad were throwing fists. The melee was over in less than a minute but seen all over the world.

“I felt like Kyle and I have always raced each other really hard back to the Nationwide Series when we were competing for wins week in and week out, never had any issues,” Stenhouse said after the fight. “I wrecked him one time at Daytona and he’s kind of badmouthed me ever since then. I feel like we get along with each other OK outside the race track, I talk to him quite a bit and I’m not sure why he was so mad that I shoved it three-wide but he hit the fence and kind of came off the wall and ran into me and I don’t know, when I was talking to him he kept saying that I wrecked him.”

Tuesday night during an event at his winery in Lexington, North Carolina, Richard Childress spoke about the incident.

“Well, you know, it was bad that he was ambushed by those guys,” Childress said. “If it had just been a straight up fight, but it was an ambush, well-coordinated.”

After the fight Sunday night Stenhouse said he planned to retaliate and wreck Busch at this week’s Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. Should he decide to do so, Childress said he’s ready to step up and defend his driver, however he needs to.

“I’ve put the word out,” Childress said. “I got it where I hope it gets to him (Stenhouse) that if he does… I’m kind of old for fighting, but I’ll have a different style of fighting and I’ll whip his ass.”

Wednesday NASCAR issued suspensions for two crew members on the Stenhouse team and a suspension for his father. They also fined the driver $75,000.

Saturday a humble Stenhouse said he had spoken to Childress.

“I think we have a pretty good understanding of each other,” Stenhouse said. “We’ve both done the same thing now. So you know, I think him and I are in a good spot.”

Stenhouse said he has no plans to go after Busch despite what he said last Sunday night.

“That was just heat of the moment,” Stenhouse said. “You know, you never, never want to wreck anybody on purpose, especially somewhere like Charlotte or anywhere for that matter.

“I’ve said before, you know, I got a ton of respect for what Kyle has done in your race car; more than most people in this garage area combined, of what he’s been able to accomplish.

“But, you know, I lost a lot of respect for him, crashing us on purpose especially and in that moment. So I’m not going to waste my time trying to get him back at Charlotte. because I think for us, if we focus on, on what we’re capable of doing here, I think, you know, we will be able to accomplish a really good race tomorrow night.”

Stenhouse said that NASCAR won’t answer any questions about the fine, and has for an appeal:

“We’re still undecided,” he said. “You know, I think we spent all week really focused on just racing here in Charlotte and what we needed to do to run well here.

“We got till next week to kind of figure that out,” he said about the appeal. “But our main focus was just getting back on track and making sure we have a strong run Sunday.”

Greg Engle