Fists of fury: Five best NASCAR fights
With Marcos Ambrose landing a hard right hook on Casey Mears following Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond, that got us thinking about of the best NASCAR fights over the years.
While there have been plenty of finger pointing, helmet throwing, and name calling over the years, not every incident has turned into an actual fight. Yet every so often, drivers and crew members let the tempers get the best of them and let the fists fly.
Allisons vs. Cale Yarborough
"And there’s a fight!"
The four famous words spoken by Ken Squire at the end of the of the 1979 Daytona 500 put a spotlight on the scuffle between Bobby and Donnie Allison and rival Cale Yarborough.
Donnie and Cale had words with each other after the two wrecked battling for the Daytona 500 win, but the real action started once Donnie’s brother Bobby dropped by to see what was going on.
Cale blamed Bobby for something that happened earlier in the race, then hit him with his helmet. When Bobby climbed from his car, the fight really broke out and, as Allison famously puts it, "Cale went to beating on my fist with his face."
The fight was broadcast live on national television and immediately captivated the viewing audience. NASCAR was forever changed.
Darrell Waltrip‘s team vs. Rusty Wallace‘s team
After one of the most dramatic and controversial finishes to a Sprint All-Star Race, crew members from Rusty Wallace’s team and Darrell Waltrip’s team had it out in the garage area at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1989.
Racing for the win, Wallace made contact with the back bumper of Waltrip’s car off Turn 4 coming to the white flag. Waltrip spun through the grass and Wallace would go on to score the victory.
As Wallace drove to victory lane, crew member Todd Parrott threw his shoulder into one of Waltrip’s crew members and ignited a large scuffle amongst the two teams.
Following the drama on the track and in the garage area, Waltrip famously said, "I hope he chokes on that $200,000."
Casey Mears vs. Marcos Ambrose
When it comes to racing fights, it’s rare to actually land a punch. Saturday night in Richmond, Marcos Ambrose did just that. After a brief confrontation with Casey Mears in the garage following the Toyota Owners 400, Ambrose had heard enough and let one fly.
The punch connected with Mears’ eye, starting another scuffle that further involved the crew members. Ambrose was hit with a punch from a crew member, while Mears was left with a black eye.
Jimmy Spencer vs. Kurt Busch
The Jimmy Spencer-Kurt Busch rivalry was one of the best in NASCAR history. Not only did the two often tangle on the track, but also they genuinely did not like one another off the track.
After multiple on-track incidents and harsh words exchanged in the media, the rivalry came to a head at Michigan in 2003. The pair raced very hard at the high-speed track, something Spencer took issue with. Following the race, the two had a heated exchange in which things got very personal. Spencer then back-handed Busch in the face, leaving visible damage. As a result, Spencer was suspended for the following race.
Clint Bowyer‘s team vs. Jeff Gordon‘s team
A year-long rivalry between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon came to a head during the 2012 Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway. After the two tangled on track, Gordon was determined to put an end to Bowyer’s day.
As Bowyer was contending for the win, Gordon — who was laps down — dove under the No. 15 Toyota and sent the two cars, along with Joey Logano hard into the outside wall.
When Gordon parked his car in the garage, Bowyer’s crew members were there ready for a fight. The four-time champion was shuffled away as the two crews went at it behind the hauler.
Unable to drive back to the garage, Bowyer parked his car on pit road and sprinted to the scuffle already underway.