MOORESVILLE, N.C. – CARS Response Energy Tour officials have fined and suspended driver Brandon Setzer and his father and car owner Dennis Setzer following a physical altercation last Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Setzer was racing Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Raphael Lessard for the lead on the final lap of the super late model portion of the Cloer Construction 300. Setzer bumped Lessard out of the way to take the lead in turns one and two, but Lessard retaliated in the next corner and Setzer spun out.
Series officials responded by sending Lessard to the back of the field for rough driving. After the race Setzer exited his car and ran to Lessard’s pit stall to confront him, leading to a brief scuffle between Setzer and members of Lessard’s crew.
Series officials announced Tuesday evening via the CARS Response Energy Tour Facebook page that the Setzer’s had been suspended from all CARS Response Energy Tour events through Nov. 4 and had been fined $425 each as a result of the incident. His father was also suspended and fined $425 for his role in the altercation.
The original post announcing the suspension was later removed from Facebook.
CARS Response Energy Tour owner Jack McNelly published a statement on the CARS Response Energy Tour Facebook page Wednesday morning with additional details about the suspension.
“The decision to suspend Brandon and Dennis Setzer for the off track altercation that occurred at Hickory Motor Speedway on May 5, 2018 was my sole decision as the owner of the CARS Tour,” McNelly said. “The penalties were announced directly to super late model teams via email, per our normal procedure. Unfortunately a CARS Tour employee posted this email publicly, which is against our policy, and that is why it was later removed from social media. We apologize for this error in judgment.
“The suspensions and fines issued to Brandon (driver) and Dennis (car owner) Setzer are consistent with past occurrences, dating back to a similar incident last October at South Boston Speedway. The suspension of five races and fines of $425 to each Brandon and Dennis are an exact duplication of what was issued post-race in that off-track incident at South Boston. These penalties are completely unrelated to the on-track incident, as Brandon did not violate any rules behind the wheel of his car. Raphael Lessard was issued a rough driving penalty and sent to the rear of the field, per the race procedure rule book, for violating a rule on track.
“The suspension and fines stem from Brandon and Dennis entering the pit area of Raphael Lessard’s No. 51 team with the intention of starting a physical altercation. I believe that two drivers have the right to settle disputes, but other team and crew members should not be involved. Fighting among super late model teams has become a common occurrence this season, and while that may be acceptable to some, I do not want the CARS Tour to be known for fights at every event. All licensed competitors are responsible for reading and following our published rule book, which plainly states that starting a fight or altercation will results in a fine and/or suspension. As with all penalties issued by the CARS Tour, those issued this week are 100 percent appealable, and we encourage Brandon and Dennis to do so.”