Ranking the 10 Greatest Fights in NASCAR History
Make no mistake, fights in NASCAR are fun to watch.
Let's face it, when we see drivers or crew members roll up their sleeves and engage in a legitimate brawl, everything else goes dim. We become glued to that scene and that scene alone. The refreshing aspect of the raw emotion shown takes us back to the sport's basic roots. The fights take us back to those Saturday nights spent at the local bullring.
Or, if you want to be less poetic about it, it's always fun to watch that one pesky driver get a mudhole stomped in his or her backside and walked dry.
Here is a list of the 10 greatest fights in NASCAR history.
10. 2003 Chevy Rock & Roll 400
Kevin Harvick was looking to extend his string of good finishes by placing well in the September 2003 race at Richmond when he was tagged from behind by Ricky Rudd late in the race. The result was Harvick's No. 29 mount backing into the wall, putting him out of contention for a win.
Harvick responded in kind by chasing down Rudd and pulling up beside him on pit road after the race. Both crews rushed to keep the drivers separated, so the most they could do was yell at each other, before Harvick's crew proceeded to stomp on Rudd's No. 21 Ford.
The only shot exchanged in the altercation was when Harvick tossed his HANS device at Rudd, to which Rudd responded by hurling it back at Harvick. Still, the exchange was typical short-track action. It seemed like almost everyone forgot that Ryan Newman won his sixth race that night.
9. 2008 Camping World RV Rental 200
Although lesser known than the Sprint Cup Series, the Camping World Truck Series has hosted its fair share of excitement, such as the post-race festivities after the September 2008 event held at Loudon.
Although he's not a championship driver like his counterpart Todd Bodine, David Starr has had some success in the trucks, where he has a handful of wins. He has been in the series a long time as well, so when he managed to wreck both Germain Racing trucks, as well as the truck of Donny Lia that day, many were wondering if he had a little bit of a brain fade.
Bodine, whose No. 30 Toyota was one of the trucks wrecked by Starr, wanted to make sure Starr knew he was upset. Therefore, coming onto pit road, a simple nudge and a rub were all he felt he needed to do. Instead, following the contact Starr, pulled up close to Bodine.
However, instead of going toe-to-toe with Bodine he went toe-to-toe with his crew after one Germain crew member pulled Starr's net down. Starr's crew quickly showed up, but by then, Starr was on the hapless crew member like a spider monkey.
Reinforcements descended quickly upon the scene, as members from the No. 9 Germain truck also showed up ready to stomp on Starr some, but Starr's Red Horse crew and several NASCAR officials were able to diffuse the pit road rumble before anything serious happened.
Still, it was strange to see the normally genial Starr swinging like a madman on the offending crew member.
8. 2004 Tropicana 400
There is no mistaking that the respect between Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart is immense. But in the fickle world of motorsports, the limits of such respect can be tested.
Kahne was running up front during a restart at the 2004 Tropicana 400 at Chicago when Stewart, whose No. 20 was faster, nailed Kahne between the rookie stripes and sent him into the frontstretch wall, collecting several others in the resulting mess.
Before the first replays were aired, as you can see in the video, Kahne's crew chief Tommy Baldwin had led his men to Stewart's pit to engage in a discussion. But because Stewart's gang was a tempestuous bunch, much like their driver, the "discussion" resembled more of a '50s Bronx gang rumble.
Several officials got caught up in the fracas as well, but before things got really bad, the fight was over. Still, it was a shock to see a brawl of such immense proportions at Chicagoland of all places.
7. 1998 Lycos.com 300
NASCAR needs more races at race tracks such as South Boston. The fight between Jeff Purvis' crew and Mark Green's crew only serves to boost that claim.
Both drivers are known for being relatively calm individuals, so when Green turned Purvis into the wall, nobody expected things to get really heated.
Yet, coming onto pit road, Purvis retaliated not by bumping Green but by slamming into him repeatedly before running him closer to the pit wall. Before Purvis could get out, Green's crew was already on top of him, but the No. 4 crew met them almost immediately.
Fists flew between the two crews, and when Purvis finally got out of his car, he was poised to attack Green's crew chief. But he was restrained quickly. NASCAR didn't take the incident lightly, especially since Purvis used his car as a battering ram on pit road, and suspended Purvis for four races.
6. 2012 AdvoCare 500
Over the years, Jeff Gordon has become a changed man.
Once upon a time, he was the Superman of the sport. He was never vindictive and always had an easy demeanor. Yet, in more recent years, he has shown that, on some occasions, he can take up the role of General Zod without batting an eye.
During last year's AdvoCare 500, contact between Gordon and Clint Bowyer cut Gordon's tire and sent him into the wall. Gordon, who had suffered multiple mishaps courtesy of Bowyer throughout the season, was fed up and decided to take matters into his own hands.
The result? Four wrecked race cars, including Bowyer's and Gordon's.
After Gordon parked, his crew met him by his wrecked Chevy, but Bowyer's crew showed up ready for battle. Both crews immediately engaged in an all-out war. It took several officials to break the heated groups up, and by the time Bowyer was available to join the fight, it was already over.
Undeterred, he bolted for Gordon's hauler but could do no more than hurl a few choice words in Gordon's general direction. Gordon was fined $100,000 and docked 25 points for the issue.
5. 1989 Winston All-Star
"I hope he chokes on that $250,000."
What would have prompted Darrell Waltrip, one of NASCAR's most magnetic personalities, to utter such a vile wish?
Well, coming to the checkered flag in the 1989 edition of The Winston, Waltrip was neck-and-neck with Rusty Wallace. Coming off Turn 4, Wallace bumped Waltrip, sending Waltrip sliding backward through the grass while Wallace's Pontiac won the race and the $250,000 prize.
Waltrip's crew wanted to make their anger known by blocking Wallace's entrance to Victory Lane, but when one of Wallace's crew shouldered past a crew member of Waltrip's Tide Chevy, it all went downhill.
Both crews converged in a sea of green and orange as fists flew and bodies flailed about. Officials eventually got the crews calmed down, but the result was one of the most famous All-Star moments in history.
4. 2010 AAA 500
Once again, here is Jeff Gordon in General Zod mode.
After Martin Truex Jr. bounced off the wall and brought out a caution, Jeff Burton decided to voice his displeasure with Gordon by bumping him a bit. However, the resulting "bump" ultimately put both cars out of commission.
Both drivers emerged unscathed, but Gordon decided he wanted to rehash the incident with his old chum Burton. By "rehash," he really intended to actually bounce Burton's head off the pavement a few times.
Gordon grabbed Burton and tried to swing a few times, but officials broke the two apart. Therefore, Gordon had to settle for screaming at Burton.
It was short, sweet and surprising to watch, especially coming from a guy like Gordon. But nonetheless, it goes to show that Gordon is a fierce competitor.
3. 2002 Channellock 250
Before the Jimmy Spencer/Kurt Busch feud, we had the Kevin Harvick/Greg Biffle feud.
For the longest time in the early '00s, these two guys just didn't like each other. They engaged in heated post-race discussion after heated post-race discussion, but nothing really left an impression like the tangle they got into at the end of the Channellock 250 at Bristol in 2002.
After Biffle sent Harvick out of the race with less than 10 laps to go, Harvick decided to wait until the end of the race before doing anything because he wanted to let Biffle know he was frustrated.
Once Biffle exited his Ford, he found out just how frustrated Harvick was when Harvick jumped on him and had him by the scruff of the firesuit. It took several members from each crew to pry Harvick off Biffle, and Harvick left the scene with a giant smirk on his face.
Is it bad that this wasn't so much a fight as an all-out "punking" of Biffle?
2. 2013 Auto Club 400
Throughout Tony Stewart's career, he's been a fiery competitor who has had a few physical showdowns with other drivers. However, it is safe to say that this is the angriest the NASCAR world has seen him.
However, to give credit where credit is due, Joey Logano should be commended for not backing down from an angry Stewart.
Stewart, who was upset with Logano's blocking late in the race, ran him down on pit road and cut off Logano's No. 22 Ford. Logano was already out and talking to his crew when Stewart exited his No. 14, but Stewart was in no mood for talking, as he made a beeline for Logano.
He then grabbed Logano and attacked him before Logano got in a swing. But both crews handled the showdown by separating both drivers quickly.
Stewart would later claim that Logano "needed to learn a lesson," which was why he felt the need to throttle Logano in a very Homer Simpson-like manner. That attitude alone is why we love Tony Stewart.
1. 1979 Daytona 500
NASCAR's defining moment, aptly referred to as "The Fight," wasn't so much a battle as it was a scuffle. Still, it was instrumental in helping to put NASCAR in the limelight.
On the last lap of the 1979 Daytona 500, Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison wrecked while racing for the win. While Richard Petty zoomed to Victory Lane, both drivers exited their cars to discuss the accident.
But when Bobby Allison, Donnie's brother, showed up to offer his assistance to Donnie, he was met with a helmet to the face for his efforts by Yarborough. Bobby responded in kind by leaping from his car and leaping onto Yarborough. He would describe the mess in later years as a "donnybrook" with Yarborough "beating on his fists with his nose."
Both drivers look upon "The Fight" fondly in their later years—and so do we.