Candace Muzny, a former NASCAR driver accused of attacking a Vietnamese nail salon tech for not speaking English, told Heavy.com in an exclusive interview that she “backhanded” the tech because “I asked her three times to stop speaking Vietnamese to me. I was paying with the American dollar.”
She added: “I’m aggressive. I’m a race car driver.” She’s also accused of attacking a police officer, slashing him in the ear with a knife during the chaotic incident at Creative Nail. To Heavy.com, Muzny defended her actions in that instance too, accusing the officer of attacking her first. She said he “bum rushed” her from behind. She insisted: “I’m not racist. I have friends of all ethnicities.”
It’s now been reported by KFOR-TV that Muzny was found deceased inside her home on February 17, 2020. Police are calling her death suspicious, but they haven’t released further details. Koco.com reported that police say there are “no obvious signs at this time that a homicide occurred.”
You can read what the police report says in great detail later in this article. It accuses Muzny of “anti-Asian bias” and of attacking the tech and responding officer. It also says a body cam was activated. Heavy.com has asked police for it.
In the lengthy telephone interview, Muzny insisted, “I think if you’re speaking to an American who is a customer of yours, and you know they’re not Vietnamese, it’s rude to talk to them in a language they don’t understand… She (the nail salon tech) needs to get back to Vietnam. If she wants to live in America and serve Americans, she needs to speak the language they speak.”
She added: “If she wants to live on the American dollar, then she needs to speak English.”
But she conceded, “I have a bad temper. I need to learn more patience. It was probably not the best response, but she was being disrespectful and she was doing it on purpose. I am frustrated with the world. I am under a lot of stress. I need to move. I need a break. I miss my racing family….I’m not saying I’m proud of what I did.”
Muzny, an avid Trump supporter (based on her own admission and her Facebook page) was once sponsored by the reality star Jesse James and actress Sandra Bullock during her racing career. She fills her social media pages with glamour shots. Her once promising racing career has been over for a couple years, and she’s living in Oklahoma City, where the alleged attack occurred.
Here’s what you need to know:
Muzny, Who Was Once on the NASCAR Circuit, Says She Thinks the Accusations Will Give Her a ‘Platform’
In the interview, Muzny said she wasn’t that worried about the media attention over the allegations because it “gives me a platform.” Asked what she wanted to use that platform for, she said she’s concerned by Oklahoma’s female incarceration rate.
Online court records show authorities made a criminal probably cause initial filing against Muzny on January 13. Oklahoma City police spokeswoman Megan Morgan told Heavy: “The case was presented to the District Attorney’s Office. They accepted charges for Assault & Battery on an Officer, three counts of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault & Battery, Resisting an Officer, and Interfering with a 911 Call. An arrest warrant has been issued for her for the additional charges.”
Asked again why speaking Vietnamese provoked such a response in her, Muzny claimed of the tech, “She snarled and kept speaking Vietnamese. I told her I was tired of her speaking that language in front of me and disrespecting me.”
As for the cop, she alleged, “He attacked me. I never knew he was coming at me.” She conceded, “My dog bit him. He attacked me, and I attacked him back.” Heavy.com has reached out to Oklahoma City police for comment.
Megan Morgan, spokeswoman for Oklahoma City police, said in a statement to Heavy.com, “According to the officer’s report he first made contact with her at the front doors while she was propping the doors open. She starting cussing and walking away from the officer. It was only after that that he tried to detain her and the attack on the officer occurred. Furthermore, the officer says she had freed a hand and was facing him when the attack happened…she was arrested that day and booked in on probable cause.”
Muzny then went into a long discussion of various traumas she has faced in her life, including assaults and the loss of loved ones. “When you’ve been assaulted like I have, when someone attacks you, you attack back,” she said. “I backhanded her. I didn’t slap her…she was looking at me nasty and speaking Vietnamese after I very politely asked her not to.”
Oklahoma City Police Describe the Incident as ‘Anti-Asian Bias’
The Oklahoma City police report, obtained by Heavy.com, says that the incident was labeled “anti-Asian bias.”
The 5-foot 2-inch Muzny is accused of aggravated assault, a felony, among other possible charges. In a second, earlier, interview with Heavy.com, Muzny denied the account given by the nail salon tech, police officer, and a witness, saying it wasn’t true (the police report says the officer had a body cam activated.)
There was a time when Muzny generated news coverage as an up-and-coming driver on the NASCAR circuit, even attracting the attention of Hollywood stars. On one of her LinkedIn pages, she described herself as “Race Car Driver, Team Owner / Fabricator, Welder just all around love of cars and working with metal.”
An old 2005 article in the Orange County Register on Muzny’s racing career reported that actress Sandra Bullock and her then “Monster Garage” star husband, Jesse James, were “Muzny’s new sponsors” at that time. She was once dubbed one of the “most stunning women in NASCAR,” by an online site.
In the police report, Muzny’s employer is listed as Arrow Wrecker, which an old news article stated was a towing company her mother co-owned even back when she was on the racing circuit. According to the report obtained by Heavy.com, the officer was dispatched to Creative Nail on Britton Road on January 12, 2020 at 6:20 p.m. for a “disturbance call.”
“The notes on the call stated a customer slapped an employee,” the report alleges. The victim, Tiffany Nguyen and a witness stated that “Candace came into the store to have her nails done.”
While Nguyen was giving Muzny a pedicure, Muzny is accused of “making comments about Bruce Lee” to Nguyen and the witness. The witness asked Nguyen in Vietnamese if she would like him to give her her paycheck early, and Nguyen responded in Vietnamese.
“Candace yelled at them to stop speaking in Vietnamese and…Candace slapped…Nguyen on the face,” the report says.
It says that a witness tried to call 911 and Candace “took his phone from him.” The witness “took his phone back,” at which point Candace is accused of getting in Nguyen’s face and “yelling and cussing.” According to the report, Muzny turned and pulled out a small black pocket knife…Candace cornered…Nguyen between a wall and a table. (Muzny) was yelling at… Nguyen and waving the knife around (Nguyen’s) face and neck. (Muzny) told…Nguyen she was going to kill her and her family…Candace struck…Nguyen with a closed fist….Nguyen got away from…Candace until Off. Barnhill arrived on scene.”
Officer Barnhill arrived and observed Muzny “propping open the front doors (of) the shop,” the report alleges, adding that the officer made contact with Muzny but she “began cussing and walking away from Off. Barnhill.” He went to detain her “by taking hold of her wrists from behind,” but Candace is accused of struggling with the officer as her dog approached the officer and “began pulling on Off. Barnhill’s boot.” At that point, alleges the report, Candace got a hand away from the officer and turned around to face him.
She is accused of striking the officer behind his right ear “with the black pocket knife she had concealed.” The officer put space between them. Candace is accused of pointing the knife at the officer and “continuing yelling at him.”
“Off. Barnhill stated he did not know she had the knife or had cut him until she began pointing it at him. Off. Barnhill drew his weapon and began ordering (Candace) to drop the knife and to get on the ground,” the report says. At that point, she dropped the knife and began getting on the ground but then stood up and began to walk off, the report continued to allege.
It says that Officer Barnhill “wrapped his arms around her from behind and took her to the ground.” He sat on top of her and began positioning her for handcuffs at which point other officers arrived to assist. She was placed in the “violent prisoner restraint.” Her mother responded to the scene and took custody of her dog and property.
Nguyen’s lip was swollen and cut from being struck, and the officer had a small cut behind his right ear, according to the report.
According to News9, the 911 caller that prompted police to respond to the nail salon claimed: “We have a belligerent customer in here that is going nuts and we need her out ASAP, she just slapped me in the face.”
Nguyen told News9 that “we were speaking in our native language about my pay and then she said to f’ing stop speaking that language or I will slap you in the face.”
Nguyen further told News9, “She got me cornered and I fell. But I was able to kick her, and she lunged and tried to put a knife up to my throat a couple of times.” Police told News9 that the responding officer didn’t realize that Muzny was allegedly using a knife and “she was able to free a hand and assault the officer on the back of the ear.”
Nguyen confirmed in a short interview with Heavy.com that Candace referred to having been a race car driver. She said she was too “traumatized” by the incident to describe it all over again.
“It’s not true. None of it’s true,” Muzny said to Heavy.com when she answered the phone the first time around. “That’s not what happened.” She claimed that people were “lying” and she “did not stab an officer. I’m honest as the day is long. I’ve always been that way. I’d give my last five dollars for anybody. I’m a very good person. I think all people have good and bad in them.”
She then went into a lengthy conversation about a series of tragedies she’s faced in her life, saying she had “lost 40 people that I love dearly, who were close to me,” including her best friend and fiance. “I thought about her today. She was the same age Jesus was when he died,” Muzny said of her friend, a fellow race car driver, adding, “We almost made The Amazing Race.”
At one point, she said, “God is trying to tell me something. I am a woman of faith.” Of her racing career, she said it was “my passion, my dream. It saved my life,” adding that her parents helped her get started with that when she was in high school. She then said she had to go.
Muzny’s Racing Career Was an Interest Which Grew After She Worked in Her Dad’s Oklahoma Gas Station
In 2010, the Bleacher Report wrote a profile story on Muzny, describing her as “a regular competitor in the NASCAR Late Model Divisions and Pro Series across the states.” The story said she grew up “drag racing with the boys after school or tinkering with cars at her father’s gas station in Oklahoma.” At that time, the site said she was “logging in seven top-fives, 55 top-10s, and 92 top-20 finishes in 94 starts throughout her five-year career across various stock car ranks.” You can see her career statistics here.
Jesse James, the TV personality and former Austin Speed Shop CEO, praised Muzny in 2005 to the Register, saying, “Candace is a very skilled and patient driver. The sky is the limit for her. And the best thing? She is not shooting for the stars. She’s humble and willing to put the time in and learn and take each step with confidence.” To Bleacher Report, she called James “my buddy” in 2010.
The Things reported in 2019: “She started off in drag races before moving up to join NASCAR in 2007. Her work was sadly brief as she seems to have moved into retirement.”
In 2010, The Oklahoman quoted Muzny’s mom, Vanita, as saying she was happy her daughter “is doing so well in the race car scene.” The story reported that Vanita was going to Irwindale, California “to cheer on her daughter during the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.”
The story says that Vanita is co-owner of Arrow Wrecker Service in Oklahoma City (that’s where Heavy.com reached her about the nail salon accusations. It’s also the place of employment that Muzny lists on one of her LinkedIn pages.)
“Al (Candace’s father) ran the wreckers at the racetrack for about 10 years,” said Vanita to The Oklahoman. “He didn’t let Candace race when she was young, but she had a little Mustang that she raced all around town.”
The Register reported in 2005 that Muzny, in her first full season driving “a Late Model stock car at Mesa Marin,” had “finished in the top 10 eight times at the half-mile oval in Bakersfield.”
On one of her LinkedIn pages, Candace described herself as race car driver/owner for CNM Racing, Inc. She said she had a bachelor’s degree in fashion marketing/business from the University of Texas Dallas and attended the Art Institute of Dallas in fashion marketing, working as a model and in marketing for fashion shows.
A press release from CNM in 2011 said that Muzny was involved in charity work to fight breast cancer. It described her as “a NASCAR driver on a mission. Ever since she was a little girl she knew her career was destined to be on wheels. Always willing to give her best, Candace works on her car, herself, and her team until all are fast, competitive, and most of all, in winning shape.”
In 2017, she wrote on Facebook, “I am getting to help out & instruct & give ride along today with Mike Starr & his Team Texas Driving Experience! So much fun! I love giving others the amazing experience I get every time I get the opportunity to get into a race car! ??????????.”
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