Man says he climbed fence at NASCAR race for picture of Harvick

Published: Sep. 9, 2014 at 2:09 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2014 at 9:50 PM EDT
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Video: Austin Massey
Video: Austin Massey

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The Hopewell man caught on camera climbing and sitting on top of a fence during a NASCAR race at the Richmond International Raceway is speaking out.

James Richard Dennis now faces criminal charges and racetrack administrators are reacting. The president of RIR Dennis Bickmeier says he's not sure if Richard Dennis will now be facing a ban from the track. Richard Dennis says all he was trying to do was get a photo of his favorite driver.

Bickmeier says the racetrack is going through an evaluation process when it comes to safety at the track.

"We don't race here again at RIR until April 2015, so we've got some times on our hands. So, the biggest thing for us is to review all the policies and procedures that were in place, gather as much information as we can," says Bickmeier.

James Dennis is the man in the video he says it was a view he will never forget.

"Two of the officers separated and an opportunity existed," says Dennis. Bickmeier says there was another incident going on at the same time that may have distracted officers. Dennis says he wanted a photo of his favorite driver, Kevin Harvick.

"It was one of those crazy spur of the moment things I should have never did and more or less ashamed of myself for doing," said Dennis. He said he now regrets what he did.

According to court records, Dennis now faces two misdemeanor charges including disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

"I had maybe four or five beers, but we had walked from way out in there," he said. "I'm going to say no I wasn't drunk, you know I had a buzz going but I wasn't drunk."

He says police were professional and did not test his blood alcohol level. Dennis says he was holding a bandana, but never tried to throw it onto the track.

A caution flag went up, forcing drivers to slow down.

"People were upset it interrupted the competition. It could have impacted the outcome of this race," says Bickmeier.

Dennis never got that photo of his favorite driver, because he actually forgot his phone. But there are plenty of images capturing Dennis' dangerous feat.

Dennis says he's an Army veteran and used to repel out of helicopters, so he wasn't afraid. He also said he would be willing to mow the lawn or clean the bathrooms at RIR to make up for what he did.

Dennis is due back in court in November.

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