Tug-of-war invite offered prior to feuding crew members' penalties

Race fans got more than they bargained for at the end of Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire when two of the pit crews slugged it out on pit road.

Since there was no clear winner in the fray, Las Vegas Motor Speedway had invited both teams to settle the matter Saturday night before the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350. Speedway officials invited the Germain Racing crew of Todd Bodine and the Red Horse Racing crew of David Starr to square off in a tug-of-war as part of prerace activities.

So much for that idea.

On Wednesday, NASCAR handed down penalties for members of the Nos. 30, 11 and 9 teams.

Suspended until Sept. 24 are Bodine's crew chief, Mike Hillman Jr., and crew member Mark Hillman, and Starr crew member William Divel. Mike Hillman also was fined $2,500 and had his NASCAR probation extended through the end of the year. Both Mark Hillman and Divel were fined $1,500 and placed on probation until the end of the year. Starr also was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

Richard Gay, crew chief for the No. 11 truck, and Jason Overstreet, crew chief for the No. 9 truck driven by David Reutimann, were fined $1,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Additionally, two crew members -- Brandon Hopkins for Bodine and Tony Jilson for Reutimann -- have been placed on probation until Dec. 31.

All three owners -- Steve Germain of the No. 30 (Bodine); Tom DeLoach of the No. 11 (Starr) and Bob Germain of the
No. 9 -- have had each of their respective teams placed on probation until Dec. 31.

For those who missed it, Bodine was spun out by Starr near the end of the Camping World RV 200 and retaliated by ramming the rear of Starr's truck on the cooldown lap after the race. When a member of Bodine's crew confronted Starr on pit road, an altercation ensued between the teams that drew a throng of NASCAR officials.

Before penalties were announced, Las Vegas general manager Chris Powell said, "I'm sure both of those teams left New Hampshire feeling that nothing was settled. They were nice enough to entertain the fans at New Hampshire with some extracurricular activities, and we just want to afford these teams the opportunity to get their aggression out before the race in Las Vegas this Saturday night. We're happy to supply the rope."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.