UPDATE: Piquet involved in altercation at Richmond

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UPDATE (3:26 p.m. ET): Turner Scott Motorsports has confirmed that driver Nelson Piquet Jr. was involved in last night’s altercation at Richmond International Raceway. A statement issued by the team says:

“Turner Scott Motorsports can confirm that an incident occurred near the Driver/Owner parking lot of Richmond International Raceway following the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday, April 26th. Several members of another race team confronted a group that included Nelson Piquet Jr., resulting in the arrest of two individuals from the other race team. TSM will have no further comment on the incident as the matter is an active case with the Henrico Police Department.”

USA Today’s Jeff Gluck reports that NASCAR is also withholding comment on the incident, citing the ongoing police investigation.

UPDATE (Sat., 11:45 a.m. ET): Local police have identified the two Richard Childress Racing team members that were arrested following a Friday night altercation at Richmond International Raceway.

Michael Scearce, 50, and Thomas Costello, 35, are members of RCR’s No. 2 NASCAR Nationwide Series team that features Brian Scott as the driver. Scott was involved in a post-race confrontation on pit road with Nelson Piquet Jr. shortly after the completion of the NNS event on Friday night, and was kicked below the belt by Piquet in the fracas.

According to a Henrico (Va.) Police release, Scearce has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault and Costello has been charged with one count. They were both released from custody this morning.

Late last night, the police disclosed that an incident took place at the track at approximately 11:15 p.m. local time. According to them, what began as a verbal argument in the infield turned into a physical altercation near the track’s driver/owner lot and that two adult males were taken into custody.

Shortly afterwards, RCR confirmed that members of its team were involved. In addition, Bob Pockrass of The Sporting News relayed word from multiple sources that personnel from Turner Scott Motorsports and its driver, Nelson Piquet Jr., were talking to police in the track’s motorhome lot.

Scott and Piquet had been battling hard for position in the final laps of the race, and after Piquet kicked Scott on pit road, both drivers were subsequently summoned to the NASCAR hauler. Piquet later apologized for his actions.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.