KENNER, La. – Police are investigating a attack on a NASCAR race car driver at a track in Louisiana that ended in car owner Michael Waltrip being ejected and injured after striking a fire extinguisher.
One driver said Saturday that there is no hard evidence to indicate who, or what, was behind the incident.
“The police are still investigating. I don’t have an official report,” said Jeremy Eggleston, who also attended the race. “In the past, things like this have been solved within three or four days.”
Rene LeCott, who has a racing team, acknowledged that he was the driver who was thrown from the car by security personnel but denied he threw a punch or that he was drunk when he returned.
“I will tell you I am at a loss for words,” LeCott told The Associated Press. “It was no big fight or anything, it was just two middle-aged grown men having a discussion over a car. It was a pretty heated discussion, and I ran out of gas and his car came to a stop a couple hundred yards from the exit.”
The New Orleans Advocate reported that the incident happened after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at LaPlace Speedway.
“We weren’t mad or anything like that,” LeCott told the newspaper. “All I wanted to do was leave.”
A spokeswoman for the Kenner Police Department said it was still investigating.
“We need a statement from the father and the driver,” spokeswoman Stacey King said. “Not just a statement, a statement saying they don’t have anything to hide and that there was no justification for what happened. We need a statement that will get us to the bottom of this.”
King said the police did not believe there was any criminal intent in the attack and said it was just an argument.
“It wasn’t an actual assault; it was more like a mild pushing,” she said. “We aren’t saying a crime was committed.”
ABC-TV first reported the injury to Waltrip.
Bodensee Moha, an employee at the track, said the car’s driver, Eggleston, was escorted from the track to a safety trailer. Waltrip was taken to an area of the track where security personnel were present and told he would be transferred to a private vehicle. It was not immediately clear where Waltrip was taken.
Moha said the injured driver was escorted to a trailer where he was examined.
“This was an isolated incident between two adults who were arguing about something on the race track,” Moha said. “This did not involve our other drivers or officials. Everyone at the track acted quickly and professionally.”
Shortly after the early-morning incident, Avis Budget Group spokesman Fred Davis said in an email: “Avis Budget Group and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are working together to gather all the facts surrounding an incident in Louisiana tonight. The safety of our race fans is the primary concern for all NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Avis Budget Group employees. We do not have all the facts at this time. We will have more information soon.”