NASCAR fines Ricky Stenhouse Jr for North Wilkesboro fight

NASCAR fines Ricky Stenhouse Jr for North Wilkesboro fight

NASCAR has fined Ricky Stenhouse Jr. heavily for the physical confrontation with Kyle Busch at North Wilkesboro.

NASCAR fined Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $75,000 on Wednesday for fighting with Kyle Busch after the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro Speedway as Stenhouse’s father was placed on indefinite suspension for joining the altercation.

An incident that happened barely two laps into the race sparked the fight. Busch was enraged when Stenhouse pushed him three wide for position too early, and he responded with a hit that both of them seem to have meant to deliberately wreck Stenhouse.

Stenhouse was forced to spend the next 198 laps of the race trapped in an infield with no way out. After finding his way he proceeded to park his damaged Chevrolet in Busch’s pit stall and aggressively climbed the spotter’s ladder and exchanged words with members of Busch’s crew.

He waited until the race was over to confront Busch; and after exchanging a few words, Stenhouse punched Busch severely, and a melee broke out involving members of both teams as Stenhouse’s father, who has no affiliation with the team, then went after Busch, throwing punches.

NASCAR has now handed Stenhouse a $75,000 for the incident and his father has been indefinitely suspended from the series for participating in the fight. Additionally, Stenhouse mechanic Clint Myrick and engine tuner Keith Matthews were suspended by NASCAR for eight and four races, respectively.

“I think it’s fair to say that when you have crew members and family members that put their hands on our drivers, we’re going to react,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer said Wednesday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“When you wait 198 laps and you make those decisions that were made, again, we’re going to react to that. There could have been different decisions made.

“We want the two drivers to be able to have their time to express their differences, but again, once it escalates to where there’s been a physical altercation there, again, we’re going to react.”

During the altercation, Stenhouse declared he would “wreck” Busch in the next race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. However, Stenhouse later withdrew the threat on a separate driver’s podcast. This decision was ironically made at the same moment that Richard Childress, Busch’s 78-year-old employer, vowed to fight Stenhouse if the feud persisted into next week.

Sawyer also explained why there was no penalty for Busch, whose retaliation on the track led to Stenhouse hitting the wall on the second lap of the event.

“If we see something, we have proven over time, that if (we see a driver) intentionally hooking someone in the right rear, we’ve reacted to that,” he said. “We really as a sanctioning body would, and we do, stay out of the on-track incidents unless we see something that blatantly comes back to us that we need to react to.

“In this case, we reviewed it. We looked at it. We listened to audio. Again, hard racing but also totally appreciate where the two drivers stand on it. We’ll let those guys decide and agree to disagree.”

NASCAR also announced other penalties unrelated to the fight. Dawson Backus, rear tire changer on Sammy Smith’s truck at North Wilkesboro, was suspended from NASCAR through this weekend’s events at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a violation of the sanctioning body’s protective clothing/equipment policy.

Jeff Stankiewicz, crew chief for Grant Enfinger, was fined $2,500 for a lug nut not safe and secure on Enfinger’s truck after the race. Rowan Mason has been indefinitely suspended for violating NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy.

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