Robby Gordon, whose NASCAR probation will last through the end of the 2011 season for a physical altercation with Kevin Conway that occurred last Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, released a statement Tuesday saying Conway was the aggressor and he did not punch Conway.
According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, Conway’s report to them alleged that a couple of punches were thrown by Gordon during the incident.
The Las Vegas police have not turned over their investigation to the local district attorney’s office, and Gordon has not been charged. NASCAR put Gordon on indefinite probation Saturday and announced Tuesday that the probation would last through the entire 2011 season.
“It is unfortunate that Conway has chosen to use this insignificant event as a means of attracting publicity to himself, and it is particularly unfortunate that he has done so by making a series of false reports to others,” Robby Gordon Motorsports said in a statement.
“Contrary to Conway’s account, no punches were thrown. The simple truth is that Conway voluntarily and aggressively engaged in the exchange with Robby Gordon, and neither man was injured.”
Conway, in an interview on Sirius Satellite Radio earlier in the day, said that Gordon was the aggressor and had told Conway team owner Joe Nemechek that he was looking for him.
“He was actually in Joe’s hauler and came out and I was standing by Joe’s garage stall and, more or less, … [he] came up and it wasn’t really much of a verbal altercation or anything,” Conway said. “He basically just grabbed me, and grabbed me by the throat and got me down on the ground. And it was pretty crazy but pretty short. … It was a blatant attack.”
The Gordon statement said that the two were involved in a heated exchange in the garage area arising from their lawsuits. Gordon is suing Conway sponsor Extenze for $690,000 for three races from the 2010 season. At issue is whether Extenze gave its consent for Gordon to replace Conway as its driver to keep the car in the top 35.
Conway is suing Gordon for $29,000 for rookie-of-the-year money that Gordon received as the team owner. The contract Gordon has with Extenze states that all rookie money goes to Conway.
Gordon said Saturday that he would pay Conway the rookie money once he gets his money from Extenze. The money that went to Gordon was for the part of the season that Conway, who started 2010 with Front Row Motorsports, drove for Gordon.
“Conway would better serve the interests of our sport and the fans by making sure that he meets his personal financial obligations to our teams before engaging in publicity seeking behavior of this type,” Gordon’s team said in its statement.
Conway, who also is being sued by Front Row Motorsports over whether Extenze had an obligation to pay for races beyond the 15th race of the 2010 season, said on the Sirius radio show that his behavior isn’t the one that should be questioned.
“Our fans and our sponsors and NASCAR as a whole, they expect more out of us and they deserve more out of us than the actions that were shown by Robby,” Conway said. “So it’s embarrassing for everybody involved. It’s definitely not something that’s good to be exploited or anything like that.”
Gordon is competing on a limited Sprint Cup schedule this year with the team he owns while Conway is driving a limited Nationwide and Cup schedule for Nemco Motorsports.
NASCAR probation covers any NASCAR series a driver participates in but typically impacts the severity of penalties issued for a repeat occurrence of a similar infraction.