A stock car race at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway descended into chaos Saturday after a driver intentionally drove over another car to spark a fight that ended only after police came out with stun guns and handcuffs.
“We actually had a great day of racing up until then,” Anderson Speedway owner Rick Dawson told the Herald Bulletin (Anderson, Ind.) on Monday.
The incident occurred during the penultimate race of the Stock Car Festival on Saturday night after cars driven by Shawn Cullen, 42, and Jeffrey Swinford made incidental contact three times on the figure-eight track. The last contact sent Cullen off the course, where he remained stopped while Swinford made his way over in his car. The pair appeared to exchange words before Swinford decided to make an even bolder statement. He drove his car straight over the hood of Cullen’s vehicle, which crumpled beneath its weight.
Cullen immediately popped out of the driver’s side window and approached the window of Swinford’s car, which remained perched atop Cullen’s car. Swinford was still inside.
Track security rushed out, as well as police, as Cullen appeared to pummel Swinford through the window. To break up the fight, a police officer eventually tazed Cullen, who fell to the ground. Both drivers were arrested and led off the track in handcuffs.
“Well, a wild night here at Anderson Speedway,” the announcers says over the loudspeakers after the incident ended.
According to the Herald Bulletin, Swinford was charged with misdemeanor criminal recklessness, while Cullen was cited for disorderly contact. Swinford spent the night in Madison County Jail and was released Sunday after posting a $3,000 bond.
Swinford’s biggest punishment, however, might be on the track. Anderson Speedway banned him for life.
“Swinford just got mad and used his car as a weapon. We’ve never had anything like that happen. It’s just beyond my comprehension,” Dawson said. “Swinford will not race at this racetrack as long as I own it, and I plan to own it for a long time.”
While drivers using their cars as weapons may be new for Dawson, it’s been done before. NASCAR driver Carl Edwards once deliberately caused Brad Keselowski to wreck at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Edwards was given a three-race probation for the offense, which caused Keselowski’s vehicle to flip and hurl into the catch-fence in 2010. Keselowski was not injured in the crash.
These kinds of incidents happen outside of the United States, too, including in Great Britain, where a teenage driver at an MSA Formula event intentionally struck another driver. Dan Ticktum was handed a two-year suspension for the action against Ricky Collard in 2015.