Nearly two weeks after their post-race fisticuffs at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Noah Gragson would still like to discuss the incident with Daniel Hemric.
To refresh your memory, the two drivers tangled during a late-race pit stop in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 1.54-mile Georgia track. Hemric overshot his pit stall, which slowed up Gragson’s entry into his respective stall just ahead. Gragson showed Hemric a middle-finger gesture, then entered his stall at an awkward angle, which forced him to back up to get in a better position. Gragson then backed up the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet into Hemric’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota while Hemric’s car was being serviced.
Hemric confronted Gragson on pit road after the race, which led to punches thrown by both parties.
Hemric felt Gragson’s move was intentional, but NASCAR officials determined no penalty would be handed down to Gragson as a result of the incident.
“Oh yeah, crammed it into reverse and backed up,” Hemric said at the time. “Punched a hole in the nose of our car. Punched a hole in our car and I got one punched in his eye. We’re even.”
Although Hemric thinks they’re square, it’s Gragson who still wants to have a conversation before the series heads to Martinsville Speedway for Friday night’s Cook Out 250 (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Gragson also explained why he wanted to wait until this week to pick up the phone.
“I’m going to call him in the next day or two,” Gragson said on Wednesday. “For me right now, I took a little bit of a break for Easter. I kind of wanted to reset my mind. I didn’t want to jump into anything too premature. I wanted emotions in check. I wanted to kind of give it a few days or a week to cool off. Emotions are high, tempers are high right after the fact.”
Gragson and Hemric are fairly familiar with each other after being teammates at JR Motorsports in 2020 before Hemric moved to a full-time ride at Joe Gibbs Racing. Although a relationship between the two drivers may never be the same, Gragson has no hard feelings toward Hemric after exchanging jabs.
“With that being said, I think Daniel is a good guy. “… We’ve been to lunch together. I’ve seen him around at dinner and whatnot. I have no hard feelings toward Daniel or anyone else in the Xfinity garage. But at the same time, I need to keep a job and I need to race as hard as I can.”