CONCORD, N.C. — Five days after Clint Bowyer threw several punches at Ryan Newman as Newman sat in his car after the All-Star Race, the two sat side by side during an autograph session at a Bass Pro Shops near Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bowyer was upset with Newman for contact that led to Bowyer crashing after last weekend’s race. After Bowyer drove to pit road, he ran to Newman’s car while still wearing his helmet — earning a rebuke from his team owner for not removing his helmet. After reaching Newman’s car, Bowyer unleashed a number of punches.
Both drivers talked this week before they got to the autograph session.
“It was good to have a conversation about it,” Bowyer said Thursday night after qualifying eighth at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. “At the end of the day there were a lot of things that escalated very fast and obviously got out of hand.
“There’s one thing I can always promise you about something like that and it is unfortunate, and you hate having things like that happen, (but) that’s probably the best attended autograph session at Bass Pro Shops that I’ve had in a long, long time.
“Obviously I don’t want to do that every weekend. At the end of the day we all love this sport, we are all passionate about this sport and every now and then that shows a little brighter.”
Bowyer was asked if he thought Newman would retaliate.
“I don’t know,” Bowyer said. “Hopefully it’s behind us. We both have a little better understanding of how it escalated into that and you’ve just got to get stuff like that behind you.”
Newman said it was good to talk to Bowyer about what happened.
“It was good to kind of clear the air,” Newman said. “It is what it is. It’s the past. Just something you always remember. You learn about somebody in a situation like that.”
Newman was asked if he’ll race Bowyer differently.
“I try to race everybody the same way and that’s hard because that’s what I get paid to do,” said Newman, who qualified 18th for the Coca-Cola 600. “I try to give-and-take when I came. The way it works anymore with stage points, especially in the All-Star race, you don’t give and take. You take.”