JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson sparked a 13-car wreck on July 2 when he turned into Alpha Prime Racing’s Sage Karam in what appeared to be an intentional move. Now NASCAR officials have confirmed that they are examining all options regarding potential punishment.
“He made a bad decision on Lap 25 of a 40-some lap race there,” VP of Officiating Elton Sawyer said during a July 5 appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “As a championship contender, a bad decision. We did speak to Noah post-race in the Xfinity hauler. He understands our position of what we expect from him going forward.
“We are continuing to have dialogue internally,” Sawyer continued. “We did yesterday, we’ll continue this morning to see if there’s any additional disciplinary actions that need to be added to that incident.”
Sawyer did not detail what the potential punishment could be handed down to Gragson if it is applicable. He said that all options are on the table and that NASCAR would look at punishments used in previous situations involving other drivers.
ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!
NASCAR Did Not Penalize Gragson During the Race
When Gragson turned into Karam and kicked off the wreck, there were questions about whether NASCAR would park him, hold him for a few laps, or find a different way to penalize him. The officials did none of these. Instead, they just met with Gragson in the NASCAR hauler.
Both Gragson and Karam weighed in after the incident at Road America. The Alpha Prime Racing driver called the incident unnecessary and said that he had put a lot of other drivers at risk with the “dangerous” move.
“That was ridiculous,” Karam said after exiting the infield care center. “I’ve never been turned into in a straight line like that in car racing, ever in my life. He just flat-out turned to the right out of pure frustration. It was ridiculous. I think he tried to take officiating or whatever into his own hands, and you can’t be that… that heated while you’re driving a race car. Unfortunately, he let his emotions get the best of him.”
Gragson, however, responded with a different view of the situation. He said that Karam was just throwing it off and running him off the racetrack. Gragson said that the wreck was the result.
“I don’t know if he’s not used to stock car driving, but it seems like the open-wheel stuff, you can’t really go in there side-by-side and hit somebody in the door number when they’re turning and wrecking them and running them off on exit,” Gragson told NBC Sports and other media members after the race. “Maybe he thinks that [because] we have fenders, you can do that. I don’t know the deal. It is what it is, and you saw the result.”
The 2 Drivers Will Face Off Once Again
The two drivers were not overly happy with each other after the trip to Road America, and now they will have to face off once again. They will compete against each other and the rest of the Xfinity Series drivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Karam has only made three starts for Alpha Prime Racing during the 2022 season. He made his first start at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March before returning at Circuit of the Americas. Road America was his third start of the year, and it was his second DNF.
NASCAR released the initial entry list for the return to Atlanta Motor Speedway and confirmed that Karam will be in the 38-car field. He will take over the No. 44 Chevrolet for his fourth start of the year, and he will try to avoid the crash that ended his previous trip to AMS early.