By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
An intense Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway turned into a UFC bout between two of NASCAR’s aggressive personalities, as Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman had a fender bender confrontation which resulted into punches being thrown by Bowyer.
During the cool-down lap in Turn 4, Newman made it clear to Bowyer that he didn’t like the way he raced him after having a frustrating day consisting of multiple accidents, notably spinning in the frontstretch and slid into the artificial grass on Lap 36.
The bump from Newman sent Bowyer into the wall. Angry over the incident, Bowyer reached his breaking point once he climbed out of his damaged No. 14 Toco Warranty Ford Mustang, sprinting towards Newman’s parked No. 6 Acorns Ford Mustang and took some swings at the 2002 All-Star winner.
Shades of Michael Waltrip vs. Lake Speed at Michigan in 1995, Bowyer connected some of his punches towards Newman until crew members from both teams came to break it up.
Once all appeared to calm down, Newman took off his helmet and HANS device, and went to find Bowyer. They continued confronting each other about the incident as crew members and officials barricaded the area. No more punches were thrown as both went their separate ways, livid towards each other as they each shared their side of the story.
Bowyer, who finished 12th, thought Newman was a lap down and didn’t understood what his deal was after the race.
“It was a damn sure a surprise fight,” said Bowyer. “I don’t know what the hell his beef was. I thought he was a lap down.”
He added that his race was pretty much out of reach once the pack got tighter and continued holding Newman accountable as it pertained to the incident that led to their fight.
“Our day was over, we lost track position there, got sideways crossed up,” Bowyer explained. “Basically, we were just buying time there and see if something was going to happen at the end. They got four-wide off (Turn) 4. Hell, I thought he was a lap down. I checked up and ran into my left rear, that was the last I saw of him.
“Then after the race, he comes and runs into my back and turns me all around. I pulled up next into him and dumps into 4. Where I come from, you get poked in the nose for that and that’s what he got.”
Saturday’s fight marked Bowyer’s second post-race confrontation in as many weekends as he wasn’t pleased with Erik Jones’ last lap block at Kansas, a race he felt he should’ve gotten a stronger result.
Newman, who finished 13th, said it was Bowyer that started the ordeal in both the initial contact and the cool-down fender bender.
“Well, Bowyer chopped me on the front straightaway earlier in the race. I was just about to turn him around,” Newman explained. “Then after the race, I tapped him in the back to let him know that I didn’t appreciate the way he raced me and then he body slammed me. Then I hit him back a little bit on the back straightaway and then he just cut across my nose in Turn 3.”
Regarding Bowyer’s sprint towards him on pit road, Newman felt that he should be ashamed for fighting him with his helmet on.
“Doesn’t take much of a man to try to fight somebody with a helmet on,” said Newman. “He should be embarrassed of himself.”
Both visited the NASCAR hauler, where Scott Miller, Senior Vice President of Competition, said there won’t be any penalties handed out to Bowyer and Newman.
“They had a little difference of opinion out there on the race track and they had a little difference of opinion here at the trailer,” said Miller. “We kind of understand what went on out there. I think they’re in a pretty good place, and we’re going to keep an eye on them. We’ll certainly monitor that next week and moving forward with those two.”