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NASCAR has fined JR Motorsports Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson for intentionally colliding with a competitor during last weekend’s race at Road America.
Alpha Prime Racing’s Gragson and Sage Karam were fighting for position with some contact on Lap 25 when Gragson, obviously frustrated with the situation, swerved into Karam’s car.
Both Chevrolets lost control, causing a 13-car pile-up.
After reviewing the incident, NASCAR elected to fine Gragson $35,000 and add 30 season points to him for “deliberately destroying another vehicle” and “acting by a NASCAR member that NASCAR deems harmful to stock car racing.” Race or NASCAR deemed.”
Gragson, who has two wins this season and is currently fourth in the table, did not apologize for his actions and criticized Karam’s driving.
“It’s one thing when you’re faster than someone,” Gragson said after the race, “but to throw it in there and run off the track on the corner, door you to run off the track. Finally, after the third time, I’m over it. It’s not the ideal situation for him and his team, but I’ve done it two or three times.
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JR Motorsports did not protest NASCAR’s decision.
“We understand today’s punishment. Noah is a passionate racer, and his actions were done in the heat of the moment. Learning how and when to manage emotions is part of the learning experience,” said Kelly Earnhardt, vice president of JR Motorsports in a statement.
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Co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. had criticized Gragson’s driving before the penalties were announced, saying NASCAR probably should have given Gragson a stop-and-go penalty during the race to allow him to cool off rather than allow him to continue driving . He finished eighth.
“I was shocked, to be honest, when I saw Noah make that decision,” Earnhardt said on SiriusXM NASCAR radio Wednesday morning. “I was just totally shocked and a little bit in disbelief, not only that he made that decision, but that he, you know, caused such an accident and involved so many other people. It was hard to watch, really hard. “
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“I think NASCAR doesn’t want to over-direct the races, but I think in some situations there are some things that push a line. And I felt like that was definitely one of those situations where I was in the dressing room, if I was of the race, I would have had to take Noah to the pit lane and hold him there for a while.”
Karam did not finish the race and is scheduled to race again at the Atlanta Motor Speedway oval this weekend. Karam added he has no plans for retaliation.
“I’m not going to intentionally drive into anyone or take anyone out,” Karam said. “It’s just not the driver type I am. Over twenty years of racing, that never happened to me until (Road America). I would say it’s racing, but for me it wasn’t racing.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report