The 53-year old man who climbed to the top of a catch fence during the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Federated Auto Parts 400 Saturday night apologized Monday as he left court. Henrico County police identified the man as James Richard Dennis of Henrico. Dennis climbed the fence over turn 4 Saturday night at about lap 331 of the 400-lap event. The race had to be put under caution while law enforcement and track personnel coaxed Dennis down and took him into custody.
Henrico police Lt. Scott Jones told the Richmond Times Dispatch that Dennis told officers he wanted to be on national TV for his birthday which was Saturday. The race was broadcast nationally on ABC. Monday Dennis appeared in court. He was instructed by his lawyer not to speak with the media but did conduct a brief interview after leaving court.
"I am deeply in regret of what I did. I want to apologize to everyone. It was just stupid," Dennis told WTVR-Richmond.
"I was thinking about it when I did it. I got hung up in the moment. Cool race. I guess we never grow up," he added.
Dennis was charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Although the ABC broadcaster did not mention the incident Saturday night, social media was soon buzzing about the incident. At least one driver said the caution cost him positions on the track.
“Yeah, I saw that dumbass," driver Denny Hamlin who finished 21st said. “I didn't need that caution. It put me 2 laps down.
|A drunk NASCAR Bubba sits on top of fence|
An unidentified fan made it all the way to the top of the catchfence in Turn 4, bringing out a caution during Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400. Richmond International Raceway spokeswoman Aimee Turner said the unidentified fan was arrested by Henrico County police and charged with disorderly conduct and being drunk in public. The fan sat atop the fence while the 42-car field zoomed underneath him at speeds upward of 120 mph. Asked how the fan got past security to climb the fence, Turner said the track will "review safety measures with Henrico (County) police and NASCAR."
She said officers were stationed along the fence in front of the grandstands. One of those officers can be seen in photos on social media looking the opposite direction as the fan sits atop the fence. A video shows the fan getting past a cordoned area and climbing. The caution lights did not come on until after the climber had begun his descent, after sitting atop the fencing for several minutes. Police officers surrounded him at that point. More at the USA Today