NASCAR penalizes Noah Gragson for Road America incident

NASCAR on Wednesday penalized Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson for his in-race conduct in last weekend’s event at Road America.

Gragson has been fined $35,000 for violating the NASCAR Member Code of Conduct. The team has also lost 30 owner points and 30 driver points.

On Lap 25 of 48 of Saturday’s race at Road America, Gragson slammed into Sage Karam in the area of Turn 4 in retaliation for contact by Karam previously in the race.

The hit sent Karam’s car off course on a straightaway, where it kicked up dirt and dust and triggered a multi-car accident that eventually collected a total of 13 cars.

Gragson was not penalized for his actions during the race itself.

After the race, Gragson said of the incident: “Just got run over. That’s one thing if you’re faster than someone. I pointed A.J. (Allmendinger) by all day. (Karam) would just throw it off in there and run you off the race track in the corner and door you and run you off the track.

“Finally after the third time, I’m over it. It’s obviously not the ideal situation for him and his team, but for three times I’m done with it.”

Said Karam: “Unfortunately, he let his emotions get the best of him today. I’ve seen that with him. He walks around like he’s like the big man on campus around here and everything, and then he does stuff like that. It’s just not a good role model that he is.”

In an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday before the penalty was announced, Gragson said he “made a mistake.”

“There’s a bigger picture than retaliating or getting Sage back for the multiple times he doored us. I made a mistake,” he said. “I hope to not make that mistake again.”

Dale Jr. reacts 

Gragson’s car owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., also addressed Gragson’s actions on SiriusXM on Wednesday morning.

“He needs to take that out of his choices. He cannot be intentionally turning into guys on straightaways, and, you know, I just hope that he realizes that that really is something that he needs to be careful about going forward,” Earnhardt said.

“Noah wants to race in the Cup level, he wants to get to the Cup level and we want to help him get there whether he's driving a Cup car for us one day or someone else, when he makes those type of decisions. And this is what I told him, I said, ‘You're hurting that opportunity. You're tarnishing, staining your reputation. And that's the last thing you want to do when you're trying to get job offers.’

“I told him that I could stand behind him through just about anything, but I could not defend that.”

Earnhardt also said he was surprised NASCAR didn’t issue a penalty when the incident occurred in the race.

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