Newman Rockin At Richmond
September 6, 2003 | 9:37 P.M. EST
It seems whenever the NASCAR Winston Cup Series goes short track racing under the lights there's always high drama, tempers flaring and lots of excitement. Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway was just the latest chapter for NASCAR's "Not Ready for Prime Time Players."
Ryan Newman drove to his sixth win of the season in a race punctuated by 14 caution periods and an after race tussle. Newman beat Jeremy Mayfield across the line for his series leading victory and first at Richmond for the driver of the ALLTEL Dodge.
But the real fireworks took place on pit road after the checkered flag flew. Kevin Harvick, who was tagged from behind by Ricky Rudd while running second on lap 394, was the instigator of the fracas. Harvick pulled his car alongside Rudd's and crawled out his driver side window shouting. Both crews rushed to the melee which ended without blows but not before Harvick walked across Rudd's hood continuing his tirade.
"He took a (expletive) cheap shot at us," said Harvick. "If he's going to take a cheap shot at us he's going to get one back, I will guarantee you that."
Rudd, of course, had a different view of the incident.
"This stuff here is absolutely ridiculous," Rudd said. "I don't know. He's got that little yap-yap mouth, I couldn't hear what he was saying."
Newman and Mayfield were followed by Rudd, Jeff Burton and Rusty Wallace. Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Terry Labonte, Johnny Benson and Jeff Gordon rounded out the Top 10.
It was Newman's seventh career Winston Cup victory and first on a short track.
"After watching the Busch race last night I wasn't sure what was going to happen on the last lap," Newman said. "My front bumper is clean. I don't care about anyone else's."
Jeff Burton was involved in another controversial incident when he tagged Robby Gordon, who had battled back into contention after an early race spin. Gordon's Cingular Wireless Chevy crashed hard into the fourth turn wall while running fourth, knocking him from contention and sparking another round of bad blood.
"It was totally immature on his side," Gordon said. "I gave him plenty of room. We had a shot at winning this deal. I am just disappointed he has to race like that. I know it's a short-track. I guess he felt like he needed to dump me."
Burton was quick to accept blame for the contact.
"I messed up, it was 100 percent my fault," Burton said. "Robby didn't do anything at all. I went up the track and hit him. I take responsibility for it. I didn't mean to do it, but it was my fault."
The Winston Cup Series now travels to New Hampshire International Speedway for next Sunday's Sylvania 300.
Year Date Race Track
2002 09/15 27 New Hampshire Int'l Raceway
2003 03/30 7 Texas Motor Speedway
2003 06/01 13 Dover Int'l Raceway
2003 07/13 18 Chicagoland Speedway
2003 07/27 20 Pocono Raceway
2003 08/17 23 Michigan Int'l Speedway
2003 09/06 26 Richmond Int'l Raceway
Total Wins = 7