Richard Childress is a product of the old school, Wild West days of NASCAR. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-born businessman got his start as a NASCAR driver back in the ’70s and has thrived as the owner of Richard Childress Racing since the mid-’80s. When it comes to stock car racing, the man’s pretty much seen it all.
Even though Childress has been competing in the modern era of NASCAR for quite some time, every now and then, you’ll see him hearken back to the not-so-clean-cut days of NASCAR. The days when drivers were prone to settle things with their fists instead of talking things over. Nothing epitomizes that more than the time Childress fought Kyle Busch back in 2011.
It was the day of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 (now the Digital Ally 250), which was a Camping World Truck Series (now the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series) race at Kansas Speedway. Joey Coulter, who drove the No. 22 Chevrolet Silverado for Richard Childress Racing, was duking it out with Busch’s No. 18 Toyota Tundra.
After a hard-fought battle, the RCR driver eventually got the better of Busch in the Truck Series race and placed fifth. However, Busch wasn’t a fan of how Coulter raced him in the final laps, so he retaliated by bumping Coulter’s truck on the cool down lap. Childress didn’t take too kindly to Busch’s petty move, so he upped the ante by confronting Busch in the garage area and punching him square in the face.
After the two were separated for a bit, they exchanged insults before Childress put Busch in a headlock and started punching him AGAIN.
Two days after the truck race altercation, NASCAR officials fined Childress $150,000 and placed him on probation through the end of the year. In the immediate aftermath, the then 65-year-old Childress was regarded as something of a hero by those who weren’t Kyle Busch’s biggest fans (aka, most NASCAR fans at the time).
Not all that shockingly, Childress has gotten into a fair amount of brawls in his day. In an episode of the Dale Jr. Download podcast, Childress told Dale Earnhardt Jr. about how a bar brawl back in a ’70s taught him to always take your watch off before a fight.
“We used to go out to the bars and have a good time and everything,” Childress said. “We were up at an old bar at Daytona one night and a big fight broke out. I happened to be in it. I had a Rolex. First Rolex I ever had in my life. I lost it in that fight. Ever since that you always take your watch off.”
You better believe the legendary NASCAR team owner took his watch off the day he punched Kyle Busch.
This post was originally published on October 1, 2019.