Sheriff to investigate Spencer-Busch clash

Formal charges could follow an incident in the garage after Sunday's Winston Cup race at Michigan, with Jimmy Spencer allegedly punching rival Kurt Busch after the race

Sheriff to investigate Spencer-Busch clash

The two rubbed fenders late in the race, but the contact appeared to be incidental. Busch ran out of fuel on the last lap and coasted toward the garage. Reports differed as to what happened next. Busch's car apparently came to a stop in front of Spencer's transporter. Spencer, who arrived later, ran into the back of Busch's car, then climbed out, walked over to the No. 97 and, according to witnesses, punched Busch in the face.

That led to an angry confrontation as Busch emerged from the car and crewmen gathered from both teams. No other punches were thrown, and all involved were summoned to the NASCAR trailer for a meeting with NASCAR officials, including president Mike Helton and garage chief John Darby.

Asked on leaving whether Spencer had hit him, Busch said, "Ask Jimmy Spencer." Spencer left shortly afterward without comment. There were reports that Busch suffered a broken nose, but that could not be confirmed. He was examined at the track's care centre and sent home.

The local sheriff's office is investigating the incident and will determine whether a case should be made. "There's an on-going investigation into the alleged assault," deputy Jeff Patterson said. "It will be investigated thoroughly. We've already spoken with both parties, and we'll submit it to the prosecutor."

NASCAR, like the sheriff's office, intends to examine the matter. "NASCAR spoke with both drivers about the incident that occurred today," spokesman Mike Zizzo said. "Should we take any actions, we'll announce it at the appropriate time."

Spencer and Busch have a long history, dating to last April's race at Bristol, where Busch bumped Spencer out of the way in taking his first Winston Cup victory.

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