Richard Childress avoided suspension for his attack on Kyle Busch, receiving instead a $150,000 fine and probation for the remainder of the year, NASCAR announced on Monday.
The Richard Childress Racing team owner put Busch in a headlock and punched him repeatedly following Saturday's Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway, and NASCAR officials said Sunday they would quickly determine a punishment for the 65-year-old future Hall of Famer.
That seems to be exactly what happened, though the outcome was different than many expected. Though the penalty was issued sooner than normal (officials typically meet about punishments on Tuesdays), Childress had been expected by many to be suspended for punching Busch.
NASCAR President Mike Helton said Sunday that officials considered ejecting Childress from the track and that Busch did nothing to provoke the team owner's actions. However, officials ultimately felt that didn't warrant a suspension.
"The penalty we have announced today for Richard Childress reflects NASCAR's response to the incident at Kansas Speedway on Saturday," NASCAR said in a statement Monday. "We feel this action is appropriate and are confident all parties involved understand our position on this matter and will move forward appropriately.
UPDATE – The following is a statement from Richard Childress:
First of all, I'm responsible for my actions, plain and simple. As you know, I am a very principled person and have a passion for what we do at Richard Childress Racing. I believe passionately in defending my race teams and my sponsor partners.
In this instance, I let that passion and my emotions get the best of me. I accept the penalty NASCAR announced today and, as a company, we will now focus on this week's races at Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.
Related: SB Nation's "NASCAR Ranting and Raving" blog says a Childress suspension would have sent the wrong message.