- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Richard Childress was fined $150,000 on Monday for assaulting Kyle Busch, the latest incident in an ongoing feud between NASCAR’s most polarizing driver and Childress‘ race teams.

NASCAR also placed Childress on probation through the end of the year, finding the team owner solely at fault for Saturday’s incident at Kansas Speedway. The 65-year-old grandfather apparently approached Busch after the Trucks race, placed him in a headlock, and punched him several times.

“We feel this action is appropriate and are confident all parties involved understand our position on this matter and will move forward appropriately,” NASCAR said in a statement.

Childress, who dodged a suspension from NASCAR, was upset that Busch had bumped into Joey Coulter on the cool-down lap after the race.

He said in a statement that he accepts the penalty, but he did not apologize for his actions.

“First of all, I’m responsible for my actions, plain and simple,” he said. “As you know, I am a very principled person and have a passion for what we do at Richard Childress Racing. I believe passionately in defending my race teams and my sponsor partners. In this instance, I let that passion and my emotions get the best of me.

“I accept the penalty NASCAR announced today and, as a company, we will now focus on this week’s races at Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.”

It’s not clear what probation means in relation to Childress as a car owner. Generally considered to be nothing more than a slap on the wrist, NASCAR chairman Brian France defined probation last month as “a different set of eyes and expectations” for drivers, adding they would have limited flexibility on the race track.

For Childress, it could only mean he must stay away from Busch for the rest of the year.

Busch and Kevin Harvick, RCR’s top driver, have feuded on and off for years, and the tension was reignited last month after a race at Darlington. A move by Busch late in the race caused Harvick to wreck with teammate Clint Bowyer, and Harvick tried to express his displeasure after stopping his car in front of Busch on pit road after the race.

Harvick tried to punch Busch while Busch was still seated in his car, but Busch instead rammed Harvick’s car out of the way so he could drive off. Harvick’s car turned into the pit road wall.

Both Busch and Harvick were fined $25,000 each for the incident, and placed on probation through June 15.

But it was apparently the final straw for Childress, who let it be known he would not tolerate Busch damaging any more RCR equipment. So after racing Coulter hard in the closing laps at Kansas on Saturday, Busch bumped into the 21-year-old on the cool-down lap, presumably to show his displeasure over something Coulter had done during the race.

The act is fairly common in racing, and likely happens between two drivers following every event.

Still, it appeared to be the final straw for Childress, who according to some reports, removed his watch and handed it to grandson Austin Dillon before approaching Busch.

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