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NASCAR penalizes Noah Gragson for wrecking Sage Karam

A penalty and fine were levied against Noah Gragson for wrecking Sage Karam at Road America. Our crew reacts to the fallout, explains why it was warranted, and how NASCAR can address similar occurrences in the future.

NASCAR penalized Noah Gragson 30 points and fined him $35,000 for wrecking Sage Karam in last weekend’s Xfinity race at Road America.

JR Motorsports also was docked 30 owner points.

NASCAR cited Section 4.4.C of the Xfinity Rule Book that states a competitor can lose 25-50 driver and team owner points and/or be fined $25,000-$50,000 for intentionally wrecking another vehicle. NASCAR also cited Section 4.4.E of the Xfinity Rule Book that states actions detrimental to NASCAR could be penalized.
Gragson’s actions triggered a 13-car crash that ended the race for seven cars.

Gragson remains fourth in the season standings after the penalty. He now is five points ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry in the standings.

Gragson said Wednesday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “On Track” program that “I made a mistake” in wrecking Karam.

“What I would do differently is try to keep my temper and aggression, keep that under control and try to remain cool, calm and collected,” Gragson said. “There’s a bigger picture than retaliating or getting Sage back for the multiple times that he doored us. We have a bigger picture to chase.

“I made a mistake, and I hope not to make that mistake again. I’m going to try everything in my power not to make that mistake again and that comes from learning from the situation and trying to be better in the future.

“There’s nothing I can really do about the results of it now other than try not to let it happen again.”

Gragson wrecked Karam in retaliation for contact by Karam. Gragson sent Karam’s car off course on a straightaway. Karam’s car kicked up dirt and dust, causing other cars to slam into each other.

“Unfortunately, he let his emotions get the best of him today,” Karam told NBC Sports’ Kim Coon on Saturday. “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.”

NASCAR did not penalize Gragson during the race. Series officials spoke with him after the race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. told “The Morning Drive” Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he talked to Gragson this week: “My message to Noah is that he needs to take that out of his toolbox. … He cannot be intentionally turning into guys on the straightaway.”

Earnhardt also said Gragson’s actions were “crossing the line clearly. You don’t ever want to see that happen on the racetrack between anybody.”