Brian Murphy: Kicked in the groin, Boise driver embraces NASCAR image

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comApril 28, 2013 

If rubbin' is racin', as the saying goes, then post-race fighting makes it official.

Nothing screams NASCAR these days like post-race shoving, helmet-throwing, profanity-laced interviews and, now, groin kicking.

Welcome to the big leagues, Brian Scott.

Friday night was a rough one for the Boise High graduate and rising NASCAR Nationwide Series driver.

Scott was involved in three on-track incidents - an accident that knocked him out of contention, a late race crash with rival Nelson Piquet Jr. and a post-race bump-and-grind spinout near pit road.

Then the night really got interesting for the Boise native, who is third in the series in points.

There was a post-race fight with Piquet that resulted in Scott being kicked in the groin. Then a call to the NASCAR hauler - the equivalent of a trip to the principal's office. Then two members of his crew were arrested for another altercation with Piquet and his crew.

"He doesn't like me. He carries it onto the race track. He races me differently because he doesn't like me," Scott said Saturday. "There's a gentlemen's conduct agreement between race car drivers. He doesn't follow it when it comes to me."

In a sport where post-race fireworks and fisticuffs between drivers are not that uncommon, Scott now has his signature moment - taking a kick below the belt.

The great grandson of Albertsons founder Joe Albertson and a proud Idahoan who reps Albertsons and McCall's Shore Lodge on his car took the kick in stride.

"Hey @Nationwide do you guys insure family jewels? I need some coverage," he tweeted.

Piquet on Twitter: "With that kick, no wonder I race cars and not play soccer. I look forward to moving on and racing again.''

NASCAR's 3-year-old push to let drivers show more emotion and aggression has resulted in some high-profile (and high-interest) disputes involving some of the sports' biggest names.

Joey Logano and Tony Stewart. Logano and Denny Hamlin. Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon. Danica Patrick and David Gilliland.

The fans seem to be enjoying the constant tension - and tighter racing. Early in the 2013 season, TV ratings are up after years of decline. And feuds are part of the reason why.

"I don't think it's out of control," Scott said. "Our sport is always going to have that. Maybe that's why NASCAR fosters it - rivalries and having exciting things going on add to the story line and the bad blood."

The bad blood between the 25-year-old Scott and Piquet, a 27-year-old Brazilian, has been brewing for a while. Scott said he can "pinpoint about five incidents" between the drivers over the past two seasons.

How far is too far?

These drivers, after all, are controlling 3,400-pound vehicles, capable of inflicting serious damage to themselves and, as we've seen, fans. Thankfully most of the collateral damage has been limited to schoolyard-style pushing and showing and some not-safe-for-TV interviews.

Scott said he tried to smooth things over with Piquet during their meeting with NASCAR officials, but didn't sense that the conflict between the two is over.

Friday night's conflict cost Scott, who was hoping to limp in with a 15th-place finish before his incident with Piquet pushed him to 20th, five points in the series standings.

"Championships have been won and lost by less than five points," said Scott, who said he was proud of the way he handled the incident.

It also inflicted more damage to his car - meaning more money and time to fix it.

"We spend a lot of time at the shop together, on the road together. It's a time-demanding sport. We take things very personally," Scott said. "There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears, especially the group of guys. We're a band of brothers. They took what happened on the race track and the cheap shot he had on me very personally."

Something tells me this conflict is far from resolved. More damaged cars and hurt feelings are likely.

For Scott's sake, however, hopefully we've seen the end of swift kicks.

© 2013 Idaho Statesman

Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph

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