richmond international raceway

NASCAR: Fence climber at Richmond regular season finale going to prison

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A 53-year-old man that climbed the catch fence during September’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway has been sentenced to one year in prison with all but one month suspended.

NBC 12 in Richmond is reporting that a judge found Hopewell, Virginia resident James Dennis guilty of being drunk in public and disorderly conduct. In addition to the prison sentence, Dennis has also been ordered to pay a $100 fine for each of the counts.

In the late running of the Federated Auto Parts 400, Dennis scaled the fence in Turn 4 while the nearest security guard was responding to a fight. Once he reached the top, he then sat down on his perch over the track.

NASCAR officials called a caution due to the situation, which ended with Henrico County (Va.) police successfully persuading Dennis to climb down the fence.

A lieutenant with the police department later said that Dennis told officers it was his birthday and that he wanted to be on national television.

Dennis later apologized for the incident, saying that he was “deeply in regret” over his actions.

He also mentioned that he made the climb up the fence in hopes of getting a picture of his favorite driver, Kevin Harvick, but he never got it since he had forgot his phone.

The incident was heavily documented on Twitter and YouTube by fans attending the race that evening, and drivers such as Harvick and Denny Hamlin discussed the matter in the post-race presser.

RIR said afterwards that it would review its track safety procedures with NASCAR and local police.