Having retired from NASCAR several years ago, Tony Stewart hasn’t been making as many enemies as he did during his full-time NASCAR days. But, not too long ago, there was a time when “Smoke” would have no problem with seriously ruffling some feathers. This attitude culminated in a number of NASCAR fights and feuds, both on and off the track.
The Stewart-Haas Racing team co-owner’s scuffle with Joey Logano at the end of the 2013 Auto Club 400 particularly comes to mind as one of Stewart’s more memorable outbursts. As you can see from the below video, both drivers ended up exchanging some harsh words and a few shoves until their respective pit crew members separated them. During their post-race altercation, Logano also threw a water bottle at Stewart, prompting him to call the NASCAR driver “a little girl.” Classic Tony.
This Stewart vs. Logano skirmish makes us think back to some of the other crazy NASCAR fights from over the years. So, right here, right now, let’s take a look at eight more of the most explosive fights, dust-ups, and brawls in NASCAR history.
Drivers tend to get the most heated during the Cup Series playoffs. After all, that’s when the most is on the line. So, after Denny Hamlin pushed Joey Logano’s car into the wall at the 2019 Round of 8 opener at Martinsville Speedway, tensions ran high.
It started with Denny trying to explain himself on pit road, but all it took was a little shove from Joey, and all hell broke loose.
When it was all said and done, Team Penske crew member Dave Nichols Jr. got suspended for one race, after he grabbed Hamlin from behind and threw him to the ground. Hey, we’re all for trying to break up a fight, but that was just a little too far.
Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell aren’t two names that come up a lot during Cup Series coverage, but in March 2019, the two drivers found themselves making headlines for this pit road dust-up. The scuffle during qualifying at ISM Raceway’s pit road started with Suarez straight-up throwing McDowell to the ground, which you definitely don’t see in most auto racing scraps.
Afterwards, McDowell joked that he and Suarez, who, at the time, drove the No. 41 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (maybe Tony gave him some fighting pointers), had been to a hockey game earlier than week and that fans shouldn’t read too much into the fight. Just two dudes horsing around. Totally understandable.
Sure, this wasn’t a full-on knock-down-drag-out type deal, but Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch’s 2011 run-in with each other at Darlington was different than most NASCAR fights. It simply consisted of Harvick reaching into Busch’s car and smacking him in the face.
It wasn’t a long, drawn out thing, but it definitely got the point across.
Maybe it had something to do with the sweltering temperatures in the Lonestar State, but this Texas Motor Speedway brawl between Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski in 2014 got HEATED. The pit road shoving match that ensued ended in both Keselowski and Gordon walking away with cuts on their faces.
“He’s just a dipshit,” Gordon told ESPN after the fight. “I don’t know how he ever won a championship.” In case you didn’t know, Gordon was known to get riled up after a race from time to time.
The 2014 Bank of America 500 was a rough race for Brad Keselowski. His car hit by Tony Stewart’s, he almost got into it with Denny Hamlin, and then, to top it off, got run up on by Matt Kenseth between their team haulers after the race.
According to Kenseth, he got pissed because he thought that Keselowski purposefully hit him after his seatbelt was off after the race. I guess that’s as good of a reason as any to pick a fight with another driver.
After some last-lap contact from Joey Logano sent Kyle Busch sliding into pit lane at the 2017 Kobalt 400, Busch was pretty damn pissed. Rowdy wasted no time in getting rowdy, coming right at Logano after the Las Vegas Motor Speedway race and taking a swing at him.
In the ensuing chaos, Busch ended up taking some damage as well. We’re guessing he was still so wound up, he didn’t feel that until the next day.
These days, Jeff Gordon is a top executive for Hendrick Motorsports. But, as you’ve already seen, his behavior on the race track was not always executive-like. In this case from back in 2012, Gordon may not have been the aggressor after the race, but Clint Bowyer didn’t just come full-speed sprinting at him WWE-style for no reason.
Here’s a Cliff Notes version of what led to the fight: Bowyer took out Gordon on the track. Gordon retaliated and took Bowyer out. Bowyer wasn’t happy about it. Commence a pit crew brawl of epic proportions.
The 1979 Daytona 500. The race that basically put NASCAR on the map. And Richard Petty’s win had very little to do with it. Before The King even had time for a Victory Lane celebration, Cale Yarborough was fighting with Bobby and Donnie Allison, following a last-lap wreck that took both Cale and Donnie out of the race.
Both drivers blamed each other for the fight and both were fined. And that was that. That’s old school NASCAR for you.
This post was originally published on August 2, 2018.