Bowman Gray Racing June 15 2019

Brandon Brendle (43) is escorted off of the track after a crash in the 50-lap stadium stock race on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Winston-Salem Journal/Allison Lee Isley) 20190616w_spt_bg

The 50-lap race Saturday night in the Stadium Stock Division at Bowman Gray is the longest race of the season in that division. Drivers in the series consider it their Daytona 500.

Brandon Brendle won the race. But what happened in order to get there and what happened after the race marred the marquee event on the Stadium Stock schedule.

It escalated to the point where Brendle was escorted off the track in handcuffs by officers from the Winston-Salem Police Department following a post-race incident between Brendle and A.J. Sanders and his son, Stephen Sanders, after a thrilling end to the race.

Lt. Gregory Doren of the Winston-Salem Police Department, who was at the track Saturday, said Brendle was detained but there were no charges against him because the incident didn't reach arresting qualification.

"It did not meet the level of any criminal charges, so we explained this to everybody and he was taken out to detention," Doren said.

Gray Garrison, the track promoter at Bowman Gray, said the police officers just wanted to diffuse the situation.

"It was the last race of the (night). There was a lot of people coming on to the track from the pit area,“ Garrison said. “It was just a lot of people down there and the police just tried to diffuse anything before anything got started."

Garrison said the incident likely will be reviewed Monday and any further penalties, following a discussion with NASCAR officials, assessed to the drivers will be announced later in the week.

"We're going to evaluate the situation," Garrison said. "Brandon wasn't the only one involved in the situation. I think (A.J. and Stephen Sanders) were involved also. It takes more than one to have an altercation. It takes more than one to have a discussion on things.”

Bowman Gray Racing June 15 2019

A.J. Sanders approaches Brandon Brendle's (43) car after a crash in turn four in the 50-lap stadium stock race on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Winston-Salem Journal/Allison Lee Isley) 20190616w_spt_bg

Brendle, A.J. Sanders and Chuck Wall were 1-2-3 with 48 laps complete, but a late caution sent the race to a green-white-checkered finish.

As the drivers were coming through the last turn on the final lap, Brendle bumped Sanders, which caused a pile-up. Brendle scooted through for the win, but as he was making his victory lap, he was stopped by the pile-up in the corner. That's when A.J. Sanders came rushing toward his car and was swinging his helmet toward the window of Brendle's car.

"Right before the green-white-checkered, I passed A.J. clean, didn't touch him, didn't do anything. I had about a half a car on him when the caution came out," Brendle said. "All was fine and dandy. Well, the track decides to put him back in front of me. I'll admit, it rubbed me the wrong way. It kind of upset me inside the car so I figured I would give him a little shot. That's what I tried to do."

Sanders said he and Brendle have a difficult relationship during the past five years. According to Sanders, it started in 2014 when he won his most-recent division championship. Sanders said Brendle tried to wreck him during that season.

"I mean it's just dirty chicken crap racing," Sanders said. "You're supposed to be friends, and I know it's racing, but you don't just blindside nobody.”

Bowman Gray Racing June 15 2019

Track officials approach a conflict after a crash in turn four in the 50-lap stadium stock race on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Winston-Salem Journal/Allison Lee Isley) 20190616w_spt_bg

Track officials were able to diffuse the altercation between Brendle and A.J. Sanders, but Stephen Sanders bumped Brendle's car from behind. Brendle backed up into Stephen Sanders’ car and nearly hit track officials.

"Stephen Sanders came flying up off of (turn) four and just knock the mess out of me," Brendle said. "And the officials jumped in between our cars, and I guess, somehow, I'm the only one who got in trouble."

It was at that point Winston-Salem police officers took Brendle out of the car and escorted him from the track.

Bowman Gray Racing June 15 2019

Cars pile up around turn four up into the front stretch in the final lap of the 50-lap stadium stock race on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Winston-Salem Journal/Allison Lee Isley) 20190616w_spt_bg

Sanders said that he is so upset that the incident is likely not over between the two.

"I'm like an elephant. I will remember it because I already owe him from before and now I owe him again, so he's going wall-deep, I promise you," Sanders said.

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