Modified driver arrested in pit area at Bowman Gray Stadium (Update)

UPDATE ASCAR has suspended Joe Ryan Osborne for three Bowman Gray race meets, and David Hill and Randell Smith have been suspended for two.

NASCAR Officials have issued the penalties after Saturday night's incident in the pit area.

The three are on probation for the remainder of the 2016 season.

These penalties apply to competition in Bowman Gray Stadium’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events and will not affect competition in other NASCAR series.

Osborne, 20, of Huntersville, was arrested Saturday night and charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, accused of assaulting Randall Scott Smith and David Odell Hill by spinning the tires of his car and doing donuts in the crowded pit area.

According to the arrest warrant, Smith was struck by Osborne’s car, and although Hill jumped out of the way, his thumb was injured in the altercation.

06/22/16 Joe Ryan Osborne, the youngest full-time driver in the Modified Division at Bowman Gray Stadium, was having a breakout season until Saturday night.

Even though the 20-year-old Osborne battled to finish fourth and sixth in the two featured 50-lap races, he also got arrested in the pit area for an altercation after the second race. Osborne was handcuffed and taken into Winston-Salem police custody after witnesses said he did donuts in the crowded pit after a rival race team went after Osborne while Osborne was still driving.

Sgt. Allison Marion of the Winston-Salem Police Department said on Sunday that Osborne, who listed his residence as Huntersville, was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. His court date is scheduled for next month, according to Marion.

“He was released with a written promise to appear in court," said Marion, who was one of the arresting officers on Saturday night.

The pit area for the Bowman Gray Stadium races has a strong police presence every Saturday night. Several of the officers were around John Smith, who won the second Modified race and was celebrating near the start/finish line on the track. The officers help out in that area after each race because family and friends can come out of the stands to celebrate with the winning driver, which is part of the charm of the track that’s held races there since 1949.

As Smith was posing for pictures, however, a call was made about a problem in the pit area and several police officers sprinted from the start/finish line to the pit area behind the Bowman Gray Stadium field house.

Osborne and fellow driver James Civali, who was on the poll for the second race, have been having plenty of battles on the track this season, but this one spilled over into the pits, according to Gary Nelson, who is a son of 83-year-old Bob Nelson. Osborne is driving for Bob Nelson, the owner of the No. 27 car.

“Joe Ryan is usually calm and a very clean-cut guy, but he was upset," Gary Nelson said on Saturday as police took pictures of the skid marks that Osborne made.

One of the witnesses in the pit area, Seth Watson, said he was right there when it happened.

“David Hill, who is the crew chief for James, went after Joe Ryan while Joe Ryan was still in the car and that’s when it got out of hand," Watson said. “Then Joe Ryan tried to run over some of those guys in James’ crew. The only guy who got arrested was Joe Ryan."

Watson said it could have been a lot worse, and the only injury he heard of was to Hill. “He hurt his thumb pretty bad, and it was cut and bleeding," Watson said.

Marion said that Hill’s injury wasn’t serious, and he was treated in the pit area. “He also had some road rash on one of his arms," Marion said.

Brittany Briand, Watson’s friend, was also near the pit area where Osborne was reportedly driving in a reckless fashion.

“He nearly hit me, and I was just standing there," Briand said. “It was completely dangerous."

Efforts to reach Civali and Osborne were unsuccessful.

On his Facebook page Osborne posted a picture that Andrew Dye, who was the Journal’s photographer on Saturday night, took of Osborne being placed in a police car. Osborne had this to say on his Facebook page that accompanied the photo: “To say the least when I finally got home last night it was back to work at 3:30 to get ready for the shootout Monday and Tuesday."

Osborne’s job during the week is to work on Legend cars in his Kannapolis shop, and that was what he was referring to on his post on Facebook.

Gray Garrison, the track promoter at Bowman Gray Stadium, didn’t know the details of the incident Saturday night, but he did acknowledge it.

“I don’t know what happened, and I haven’t seen a police report as of yet," Garrison said Saturday night as the other races were winding down. “We’re not going to make any decision until we get everything together and we’ll see what happens."

The decisions could be made in the form of suspensions for Osborne and possibly Civali.

Incidents and scuffles in the pit area at Bowman Gray Stadium are nothing new. The behind-the-scenes look at the racing and what goes on in the pit area is what led to the reality series “Madhouse" on the History Channel in 2010.

Before each Saturday night of races police officers talk to all drivers in meetings about proper decorum. That proper decorum doesn’t always happen, especially right after a race where tempers can be hot.

“We’ve suspended drivers before," Garrison said about past incidents, “but I wasn’t down there when this particular incident happened."

Garrison said he’ll talk with NASCAR officials who were in the pit area and with police to determine if suspensions are warranted.

“Loren (Pinilis, the director of media relations for the track) will likely come out with a release on Tuesday," Garrison said about the next official word from track officials.

Before Saturday night’s races Osborne was sixth in the points and had four top 10 finishes in his first six of the season. He added two more top 10 finishes Saturday night, and before the races talked about how encouraged he was with his team.

“It would mean the world to me to win here as a Modified driver," Osborne said before racing started on Saturday. “I won last year in the annual Legends car race, but I want to win in the Modified Division to get my name in the record book. … I’m really excited how we’ve performed this season." Winston-Salem Journal

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