By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong
Henrico Police arrested two members of Richard Childress Racing for an altercation after Friday night’s Nationwide race at Richmond International Raceway.
Michael Scearce, 50, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault, and Thomas Costello, 35, was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault for an incident with Nationwide driver Nelson Piquet and another individual. Both Scearce and Costello were released early Saturday morning. A court date will be set at a later time.
Richard Childress Racing’s website lists Scearce as a mechanic and Costello as an interior specialist for Brian Scott’s Nationwide team.
NASCAR spokesperson Kristi King said that “we’re continuing to gather information and will address it once we gather all the facts."
"I didn’t witness what took place last night outside of the race track," said Richard Childress, team owner. "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.”
Henrico Police stated that a verbal argument started in the infield area at Richmond International Raceway after the race and “escalated into a physical altercation near the driver/owner (motorhome) lot." Henrico Police state the incident happened about 11:15 p.m. and that one victim (not Piquet) had a shoulder injury.
Tensions rose during Friday’s Nationwide race with an incident on the track between Piquet and Scott and ended with Piquet kicking Scott in the groin on pit road afterward.
Scott exited his car after the race and headed to Piquet, upset about how Piquet raced him late in the event.
“Unfortunately, we got caught up in that incident with 50 laps to go and we were trying to limp home," said Scott, who finished 20th. “(Piquet) decided he was going to move me ... for 15th place. There’s no need. He could have easily passed me clean but we have a history. He doesn’t like me for whatever reason and he chose to move me and we got into the outside fence and did even more damage.
“More than anything it’s just an accumulation of a lot of racing together and him always racing me dirty. When I went to talk to him, he shoved me. I guess that just shows his character to hit somebody below the belt."
“I said, “What’s your deal, why did you feel like moving me for 15th place?’ He proceeded to swear at me and push me back and kick me below the belt."
Said Piquet, who placed 14th: “We both just got frustrated with each other and, you know, things happened. We both got angry. One of those things. Both of us think we’re right and we’re both frustrated. it’s racing.’’
NASCAR officials met with both drivers after the race.