Noah Gragson purposefully crashed Sage Karam at Road America; It resulted in a 13 car crash
On Saturday at Road America, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson purposefully crashed Sage Karam on lap 25 of a 45 lap race. The contact resulted in a 13 car crash and multiple heavy impacts.
On Wednesday, NASCAR released their weekly penalty report. Gragson has been docked 30 driver points and fined $35,000. Additionally, JR Motorsports is docked 30 owner points.
Sections 4.4.C&E: NASCAR Member Code of Conduct
Section C notes, “Intentionally wrecking another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from a Competition as a result.”
Section E notes, “Actions by a NASCAR member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR.”
After the race, Gragson was called to the NASCAR Xfinity Series hauler. He was not penalized the day of the race. However, on Tuesday NASCAR’s Elton Sawyer hinted that a penalty could follow.
Sawyer stated, “He made a bad decision on lap 25 on a 40-something lap race. As a championship contender, just a bad decision.”
Sawyer added, “We’ll take a deeper dive into that incident, this morning.”
NASCAR issues statement on the penalty to Gragson
After the announcement of the penalty, NASCAR further clarified their ruling:
“Every situation is unique, but in this case, there was significant enough concerns that due to the aggressive nature of that race (beating and banging) and the potential for mechanical failures, we wanted to discuss with Noah and look at the race car to ensure there was nothing mechanical that may have led to the incident.”
“Obviously, nothing was wrong with the car and it was clear it was intentional. Parking the 9 during the event was an option, but we felt that more information was needed before making a decision on any disciplinary measures.”
Sage Karam comments
Karam made his 7th career start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday. He was racing inside the top 10, which would have been a career high.
Sage Karam stated of the incident, “We got really lucky, considering all the drivers that were involved in that, to not have anybody get seriously hurt. That was ridiculous, I’ve never been turned into on a straight line like that, in car racing, ever in my life.”
“Unfortunately, he let his emotions get the best of him today. But, I’ve seen that with him. He walks around like he’s the big man on campus around here. Then, he does stuff like that. It’s just not a good role model.”
Karam added, “I’m not sure we can change Noah. I think this is something that Noah needs to take a look in the mirror. He needs to look at himself and want to make a change, himself.”
Noah Gragson took blame but admitted
After the incident, Gragson noted that several incidents led up to his retaliation.
“Yeah, I guess he forgot the three times he threw it off in the corner, doored us and ran us off the race track,” Noah Gragson commented.
Gragson added, “So, I take responsibility. I hate it for his guys but we’re fighting to race for a championship here. I’m just really over, getting run over.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr comments
Earlier today, JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr spoke on the incident via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio:
“I was shocked, to be honest with you, when I saw Noah make that decision,” Dale Jr stated.
“I was just completely shocked and in a bit of 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. Kinda surprised NASCAR didn’t penalize him (during the race). NASCAR doesn’t want to over-officiate their races but there’s some things that do cross over a line.”
“That was definitely one of those situations. If I was in the booth, that’s a situation where I would have had to bring Noah to pit road and hold him there.”
“My message to Noah, he needs to take that out of his toolbox. You can be aggressive and you can push back against guys. He could have waited and sent Sage into the sand trap in turn 6.”
“We can’t be intentionally turning into guys on the straight-away.”
“Noah wants to race at the Cup level and we want to help him get there. If he’s driving a Cup car for us one day or someone else, when he makes those types of decisions … I told him, ‘You’re hurting that opportunity. Staining your reputation.’ “
Jr added, “And that’s the last thing you want to do when you’re trying to get job offers.”
Kelley Earnhardt Miller issues statement following the penalty announcement
“We understand today’s penalty,” Kelley Earnhardt opened in her Wednesday statement.
She added, “Noah is a passionate racecar 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.”
Driver: No 16 AJ Allmendinger
Infraction Date: July 2 2022 (Post-Race)
Infraction: Sections 10.9.10.4 – Tires and Wheels – Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed.
Penalty: Crew chief ( Bruce Schlicker ) has been fined $5,000.
Additionally, mechanic Sean Kerlin has been handed an indefinite suspension from NASCAR for violation of Sections 4.1 & 10.1 (Behavioural — SAP).