Australian driver Jack Perkins witnessed his first NASCAR oval event in Phoenix, Arizona today – and he was not disappointed.
In one of the most dramatic days seen at a NASCAR event, the race ended in a green-white-checker finish with Kevin Harvick taking honors from Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
But it was what caused the 20-minute delay before the final restart, which was the story. Former champion Jeff Gordon deliberately took out championship contender Clint Bowyer with less than two laps remaining.
The crews of both cars then got into a 10-minute fight in pit lane and the garage area which had to be broken up by local police.
To add to the drama, there was another massive pile-up on the final lap which took out several more cars.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s race coverage, results and championship points from Phoenix.
Perkins, a V8 Supercars regular and V8 SuperTourers co-driver, was in awe of his NASCAR experience.
“It was pretty amazing stuff,” Perkins told Speedcafe.com from Phoenix.
“I had been to a road course event before, but this was my first oval race and it had a bit of everything.
“I guess you would describe NASCAR as a bit of a mixture of what some of my other favourite sports offer.
“It has a bit of AFL footy when it comes to he venues and the fans, it has the on-the-seat action of Sprintcar racing and, as we found out today, it can have a bit of wrestling thrown in.”
Perkins said he could not believe his eyes as the crews of Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon went at it in front of him in pit lane.
“I could not imagine what the officials would do in Australia if a fight broke out between crew and drivers after a race like it did here today,” said Perkins.
“It certainly wouldn’t do the ratings any harm. Can you imagine the crowd and the TV viewers next week when the show rolls into Miami for the final round?
“I was standing there and Bowyer came sprinting past me and there was a couple of poor cameramen chasing after him. I am not sure how they pulled up, but they probably needed some oxygen.”
Perkins spent the pre-race with Australian ace Marcos Ambrose, who had a tough day at the office before eventually finishing 18th.
“It was great to catch up with Marcos and chew the fat a little about NASCAR and how it all works,” said Perkins.
“He has done a great job over here and was very accommodating over the last couple of days.
“You don’t realise just how big a show this is or what he really has achieved until you get on the ground and experience like we did today.”
Perkins was joined on his tour by his fellow Speedcafe.com/Crimsafe Endurance Countdown host Tim Hodges.