A tense situation at a race has led to a rare punishment by NASCAR.
And it isn’t going to come cheap.
That’s because NASCAR dropped the hammer on driver Noah Gragson after intentionally causing a major crash.
Noah Gragson intentionally crashed into a competitor during last weekend’s race at Road America.
As a result, NASCAR has penalized the JR Motorsports Xfinity Series driver.
Gragson was fighting with Alpha Prime Racing’s Sage Karam with some contact for position on Lap 25.
He got frustrated with the situation, swerving into Karam’s car and causing both Chevrolets to lose control, leading to a 13-car pileup.
NASCAR fined Gragson $35,000 and docked him 30 season points for “intentionally wrecking another vehicle” and “actions by a NASCAR member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR” after reviewing the wreck.
Gragson, currently fourth in the standings with two wins this season, did not apologize for his actions and instead criticized Karam’s driving.
After the race, Gragson said, “It’s one thing if you’re faster than someone, but to throw it off in there and run you off the racetrack in the corner, door you, run you off the track. Finally, after the third time, I’m over it. It’s not the ideal situation for him and his team, but two or three times, I’m done with it.”
JR Motorsports didn’t protest the decision and Vice President Kelly Earnhardt said, “We understand today’s penalty. Noah is a passionate race car driver, and his actions occurred in the heat of the moment. Learning how and when to keep emotions in check is all part of the learning experience.”
Co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said, “I was shocked, to be honest with you, when I saw Noah make that decision. I was just completely shocked and in a bit of a disbelief not only that he made that choice but that he, you know, that it created such an accident and got so many other guys involved. That was tough to watch, really tough. I think that NASCAR doesn’t want to over-officiate the races, but I think in some situations there’s some things that do cross over a line. And I felt like that was definitely one of those situations where had I been in the booth directing the race I think I would’ve had to bring Noah to pit road and hold him there for a while.”
Karam didn’t finish the race and for his part said, “I’m not going to intentionally drive into somebody or take somebody out. That’s just not the type of driver I am. Twenty-something years of racing, that’s never happened to me until (Road America). I would say that’s racing, but to me that wasn’t racing.”
Karam is scheduled to drive again this weekend on the Atlanta Motor Speedway oval.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.