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Two arrested in pit road scuffle
Two crew members from Richard Childress Racing were arrested at Richmond International Raceway late Friday night following an earlier on-track altercation that carried over to pit road between Nelson Piquet Jr. and Brian Scott.
According to Henrico Police, Michael “Big Mike” Scearce, 50, of Mount Ulla, N.C. was charged with two counts of assault. Thomas Costello, 35, of Kannapolis, N.C. was charged with one count of assault. Both crewmen have been released and a court date has yet to be set.
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During the NASCAR Nationwide race the Nos. 2 and 30 Chevys made contact on the track. Following the race, Piquet slammed his car into Scott’s car on pit road. A scuffle ensued between the two teams and escalated with Piquet kicking Scott below the belt.
Both drivers and team representatives were summoned to the NASCAR Nationwide Series hauler to meet with series director Wayne Auton. Sources that were in the meeting said both parties appeared to have settled their differences before leaving the meeting. However, the feud reignited in the track’s driver owner lot as Piquet attempted to leave the track.
Scearce and Costello, who work as mechanics for RCR, were cuffed and taken into custody.
Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, released a statement on the incident:
"I didn’t witness what took place last night outside of the race track. Our team members were walking to their cars and words were exchanged with members from another team, which led to an altercation. I am still learning all the exact details and, because it did happen outside of the track, local authorities became involved. We are working with them to resolve this matter. We are now concentrating on winning the Sprint Cup race tonight."
Scott, who finished 20th in the race, tweeted after the melee:
“I'm going to have to see if@SparcoOfficial can sew cups into my racesuits to protect my jewels. #nascar” and “Hey @Nationwide do you guys insure family jewels? I need some coverage..”
Scott is currently third in the Nationwide Series’ point standings. Piquet, who finished 14th in the race, dropped to 14th in the standings.
NASCAR would not speculate on possible fines for the crew members. Spokeswoman Kristi King said on Saturday morning, “As far as the arrests, NASCAR does not comment on ongoing police investigations. We are still gathering all of the facts of what happened and we will address the situation once we have all the information.”
Piquet's Turner Scott Motorsports team issued a statement confirming the incident and noting the arrests but said there would be no further comment because there is an active police investigation in progress.