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May 22, 2024

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fined $75K for sparking All-Star brawl, two crew members suspended

NASCAR officials issued penalties Wednesday morning stemming from an altercation after Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race, fining Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $75,000 for punching fellow Cup Series driver Kyle Busch and suspending two crew members from the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team.

Stenhouse’s knock set off a post-race fracas between his crew and Busch’s No. 8 Richard Childress Racing team in the Cup Series garage at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Officials handed down multi-race suspensions to two crew members and also indefinitely suspended Richard Stenhouse — Ricky’s father — for violations of the NASCAR Member Code of Conduct (Sections 4.4.D in the NASCAR Rule Book).

Team mechanic Clint Myrick was suspended for the next eight Cup Series races (through events at Pocono Raceway on July 14) for his role, and tuner Keith Matthews was suspended for the next four Cup Series events (through Iowa Speedway on June 16).

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“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. “There’s not a lot of detail I’m going to get into due to the fact that these are appealable penalties, and I want to make sure that we’re fair to that process.

“With that being said, and we’ve been consistent about this, when crew members and family members get involved, we are going to react. That’s exactly what we did.”

Stenhouse and Busch tussled on track shortly after the green flag in Sunday’s non-points event, and Stenhouse’s No. 47 Chevrolet took the brunt of the damage after a bump from Busch’s No. 8 Chevy. Stenhouse was sidelined after completing just two of the 200 laps, and he parked and left his wrecked car in the No. 8 team’s pit stall to show his displeasure.

Stenhouse signaled that a post-race confrontation was approaching in interviews after he was checked and released from the infield care center. “I’ll handle it,” Stenhouse said, elaborating on what that meant by later adding, “Eh, you can just watch afterward.”

Stenhouse was waiting for Busch’s arrival at the No. 8 hauler after the event. After a brief discussion, Stenhouse threw a quick right hand that caught Busch in the side of the face. Both drivers went to the ground, and the elder Stenhouse intervened in a face-to-face square-off with Busch as both crews scuffled.

“When you wait 198 laps and you make those decisions that were made, again, we’re going to react to that,” Sawyer said. ” … Once we get to the point where it gets physical, we want the two drivers to be able to have time to express their differences. Once it escalates to a physical altercation, we are going to react.

“Granted there was no tunnel, granted there was no crossover bridge (to allow Stenhouse Jr. to leave the track), better decisions could have been made throughout that period of time between the incident on the race track and the incident in the garage post-race.”

Also on the penalty report, competition officials issued two penalties after the Craftsman Truck Series’ most recent race at North Wilkesboro. Officials gave a one-race suspension to crew member Dawson Backus, rear tire changer for the No. 7 Spire Motorsports team, for violating the rule book section on crew protective clothing/equipment, specifically helmet straps. Officials also fined crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz $2,500 after the No. 9 CR7 Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Grant Enfinger was found with one unsecured lug nut in a post-race check.

Lastly, NASCAR officials also handed an indefinite suspension to Rowan Mason for a behavioral violation of Sections 4.1 and 10.1.A in the Rule Book (Substance Abuse Policy). Mason was last listed on NASCAR’s team roster portal as a mechanic for the No. 5 Our Motorsports team in the Xfinity Series.