Steve Richards and Rick Kelly have clashed – on and off the track – at Symmons Plains Raceway today.
Richards and Kelly both claim that their qualifying laps were ruined by each other, with Kelly allegedly brake testing Richards during the 20 minute session.
Richards approached Kelly in pit lane where the pair began a pushing and shoving match.
The stewards have issued no penalty due to lack of sufficient footage.
Richards explained that he felt Kelly was in the wrong.
“To me, there was no incident,” he told Speedcafe.com.au.
“The reason I went up to see Rick was because with a couple of minutes to go in the session, he swerved across at me while I was on the racing line, jumped on the brakes and I crashed into the back of him. I was going up to him to see why he did that.
“We had a small issue a couple of laps before. I was setting up for my lap, there was at least three car lengths of space between us and I took off on my lap. When I finished the lap, I slowed down and let him passed, and when he did that, he checked me.
“His claim is that I destroyed his lap, but I was no where near him.”
When Richards approached Kelly, the pair had a heated discussion the physical altercation
“When I went down, he waffled on about this and that, and then he said “I'll going to fire you off at one of the next three race meetings,” he said.
“Sorry mate, I'm not going to put up with that, so I just made sure his overalls were straight.”
“I'm not going to stand there and be spoken to by a goose who has just threatened to fire me off the road into the fence. That's just not on.
“If I held him up in anyway, I do apologies for that, that wasn't intentional, but I'm not going to cop a brake test and then tell me he's going to intentional hurt me.”
Kelly said that he expected more from the experienced Richards.
“He started his lap right in front of me right as I was finishing one of my good ones, so it screwed my lap,” he said.
“He stormed down afterward angry, just like I was. His antics mean that I'm starting 17th. I voiced my opinion on why I was upset with him, and he said there was no issue on the track.
“It was a bummer. I'd expect some one with his level of experience to show a bit more respect, as we do for those guys. He didn't agree with my opinion, so I said that if he feels that way, I'd return the favour in his qualifying tomorrow and that's when he grabbed me.”
Kelly was not fussed regarding the pushing match.
“That's all part of the fun,” he said.
“I've got no dramas on what happened outside of the car, I'm just a bit disappointed on what happened on the track.”