North Carolina’s Bowman Gray Stadium is known as the ‘Madhouse’ for a reason. On Saturday night, under a full moon, the Madhouse lived up to its nickname. In the second race of a twin feature for the Modifieds, Joe Ryan Osborne and James Civali got into each other on the race track. The contact led to Civali going for a spin on the race track, and eventually Osborne leaving the race track in the back of a Winston-Salem police car in handcuffs.
Speed51.com powered by JEGS was able to speak with Osborne, 20, on Sunday afternoon to get his side of what transpired at Bowman Gray on Saturday night.
“On a later restart he tried to go around the outside of another car and he left a hole open so I stuffed my nose in there,” Osborne said. “I was at his door with my right front and he just came right across my right front. I didn’t lift or give him an inch, which he wouldn’t have done for me. He didn’t give me any room, so he ended up spinning out.”
From there the incident spilled over into the pit area of Bowman Gray behind turns three and four and the field house. David Hill was the first person to arrive at at Osborne’s car and started trying to pull down his window net, according to Osborne.
“He got in the window, ripped my window net down,” he said. “Then the truck driver got in there and started ripping my belts off and just throwing punches. Then he opened my visor and started poking and stuff trying to get to my eyes. I was able to pull off from there. I got down by there pits and it got even worse so I pulled up more. The pits were pretty blocked at the time. If I could have pulled onto the race track I would have, but there were other cars there.”
With entry to the race track being blocked and Hill and others still allegedly hanging on Osborne’s car, Osborne said he “got nervous and panicked,” and did something he “obviously” shouldn’t have done.
“I’d never been in that situation. There was like five or six different people reaching in there trying to pull me out, so I just had a reaction to just gas it up,” Osborne said. “It was the safest area and no one was around so I just gassed it up and hung left as my helmet was being all the way pulled to the left. I just tried to spin the car around to get everybody away from me because there were no police officers down there to pull anybody back.”
Osborne started to spin his car out to try to get everybody off of his race car. He then drove his No. 27 Modified back to his pit area where he was eventually detained by Winston-Salem police and arrested on charges of attempted assault with a deadly weapon. Osborne said those charges were eventually downgraded to a misdemeanor charge and he was released to his parents after two hours in jail.
“I was kind of confused at why they took me instead of them or why they didn’t just take all of us,” said Osborne.
Osborne, who also used to date David Hill’s daughter, Tara, said he doesn’t believe his departure from the race team, or his previous relationship with Hill’s daughter had anything to do with Saturday’s incident.
“I know one or two weeks before this me and David Calabrese got into it,” he said. “He just turned me right around and put me in the grass. I didn’t retaliate or anything. After the race I just walked up by myself to talk to them and it became this big ordeal and the truck driver jumped in between us and I just wanted to talk. They said they were going to come and wreck me every single week and I was like ‘For what? All I wanted to do was talk to you guys.’ So I think maybe it could have escalated from that.”
Osborne said one thing he didn’t understand after the whole incident was what he said the police officers told him.
“The crazy thing was the police down there told me I should have just taken the beating and suffered a broken jaw or a broken nose,” he said. “I thought that was a little ridiculous. I understand them not wanting to put anybody else in harm, but if I was in the safe spot why should I have to suffer for that?”
After having a little over 12 hours to reflect on the incident from Saturday night, Osborne said he’d do the same thing if he was in that situation again.
“I’ve had over 250 friend requests on Facebook and over 100 messages already,” Osborne said. “Ninety-percent of them said they’d have done the same thing if they were in my shoes or even worse. I just know you can’t come up to a moving car like that. I wasn’t trying to harm anybody. I was just trying to get away from them.”
Speed51.com made multiple efforts to reach David Hill, but our efforts were unsuccessful. Speed51.com will have more on this story in the coming days.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Brenda Meserve/Image 81 photo