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July 2, 2022

Gragson, Karam on-track dust-up at Road America causes chaotic wreck

A major on-track incident sidelined multiple drivers in Sunday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Henry 180 at Road America.

Early in the final stage, Sage Karam and Noah Gragson tangled through the turns of the 4.048-mile track with frustration finally boiling over, breaking up a relatively clean afternoon of racing in Wisconsin. Coming down a straightaway, Gragson appeared to turn right into Karam’s left-side door, triggering a massive pileup that left many drivers driving blindly through a dust storm with nowhere to go.

More than half a dozen cars suffered noticeable damage and Karam’s No. 45 Chevrolet was totaled, requiring a tow truck to remove it from the track. Gragson’s No. 9 Chevrolet was able to continue and finished eighth.

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Karam, competing part-time for Alpha Prime Racing this season, voiced his displeasure with Gragson after what Karam felt was intentional contact.

“That was ridiculous,” Karam told NBC Sports. “I’ve never been turned into on 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 into his own hands and you can’t be that heated while you’re driving a race car. And unfortunately, he let his emotions get the best of him today.”

Gragson conceded the contact was a result of prior incidents between himself and Karam.

“I guess he forgot the three times he would throw it off in the corner, door us and run us off the race track,” Gragson said. “Eventually, you get sick and tired of it. I hate people’s stuff got torn up, but I mean three times is a bit ridiculous just today, not including the past.

“I take responsibility. I hate it for his guys. But we’re fighting to race for a championship and really over getting run over.”

Asked whether their rivalry ends at Road America, Gragson replied: “It’s over to me.”

“He starts it; I’m the one who finished,” he added.

NASCAR officials later spoke with Gragson in the Xfinity Series hauler after the race.

Among the cars collected in the incident was Brandon Brown in the No. 68, seemingly taking the brunt of the force when his Chevrolet was sent spinning into the wall with contact from another car. He exited his car under his own power but was visibly shaken up after resting along a wall. He escaped without injury, noting he had the breath knocked out of him.

The drivers involved in the accident were checked and released from the infield care center.