Angry words and punches were flying, and people were wrestling on the ground in Tony Stewart's pit.
For once, though, NASCAR's bad boy wasn't anywhere near the drama.
Stewart ran away with the Tropicana 400 yesterday in Joliet, Ill., but his first victory since October was marred by a wreck with rookie Kasey Kahne that touched off a fight in the pits and had owner Ray Evernham calling for the 2002 NASCAR champion to be suspended.
"I'm just happy that we won a race today," Stewart said. "Last time I checked, we were here doing auto racing. Not boxing."
At times, it was hard to tell.
Stewart dominated the race, leading 160 of the 267 laps on the 11/2-mile oval and running as much as seven seconds ahead. He took the lead for good on Lap 241 and beat Nextel Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson by 2.925 seconds -- almost 20 car lengths.
But his dazzling performance will be overshadowed by yet another messy crash in a career already marked by them -- even if this one wasn't his doing.
"He definitely needs to get suspended, and he should have his [backside] beat," said Evernham, owner of Kahne's team, Evernham Motorsports. "That's the problem with him. Nobody has ever really grabbed him and given him a good beating.
"If he doesn't get suspended, maybe I'll do that."
Kahne was leading the race with Sterling Marlin second and Stewart third as the field got ready to run green again on Lap 127. But all three were bunched tight in a pack with several cars not on the lead lap in front of Kahne.
After the restart, Stewart passed Marlin on the outside and slid in behind Kahne. But something happened -- just what is at the heart of the dispute -- and Stewart's Chevrolet tapped the back end of Kahne's Dodge, sending it headfirst into the wall while Stewart darted out of harm's way and into the lead.
Evernham and Kahne said Stewart spun the rookie out intentionally.
"That was blatant," Evernham said. "You know when you're up against the back of somebody."
Added Kahne, "Obviously the 20 [car] was in the back of me and put us up in the wall. I don't know why he would do that. He had the car to beat all day. All he had to do was go through a couple more turns and he probably would have passed us."
But Stewart, who is on probation until Aug. 18 for a previous postrace fight with Brian Vickers, said he didn't intend any harm.
* FORMULA ONE: Michael Schumacher won for the 10th time in 11 races this season, taking the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, to notch his 80th career victory. Schumacher finished 2.1 seconds ahead of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and 3.1 seconds ahead of Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello. He is one win away from his season record of 11 set in 2002.
"It's just unbelievable what's happening to me and the team this year," said Schumacher, who won with a time of 1 hour 24 minutes 42.700 seconds.
"We have never let off. We learned our lesson last year when maybe be eased off," Schumacher said. "We suffered last year when it got close and we almost lost the championship."
* CHAMP CAR: Sebastien Bourdais avoided trouble in a chaotic race and picked up a victory in the Toronto Molson Indy, his third Champ Car win in a row.
The 25-year-old Frenchman started from the pole and was virtually ensured of his fourth win of the season and taking over the season point lead from Bruno Junqueira when his Newman/Haas Racing teammate crashed on the first turn.
Bourdais was in charge throughout the caution-filled race that was ended at just 84 laps -- 11 laps early -- because of a 1-hour 45-minute time limit.
After the race, Bourdais listened closely, looking somewhat surprised as runner-up Jimmy Vasser and third-place finisher Patrick Carpentier talked about the wild race that included plenty of caution flags, collisions and near misses.