NASCAR's Xfinity Series event got intense on Saturday. Daniel Hemric and Noah Gragson got into a physical altercation while arguing over pit-road space during a stop late in the race. The two had vehicles in adjacent stalls, which was part of the cause of the initial argument.
Gragson's No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet backed into Hemric's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, causing some chaos on pit row. The two drivers and others in the area who work for both teams then exchanged swings after the race.
Here's a video of the pair fighting:
Hemric explained his role in the drama, explaining the situation as "pretty simple."
"Pretty simple. He had no idea what was going on out on the race track," he said. "We come down pit road and the guy pitted behind us when you accelerate when I was pulling into my box, and it made me have to steer around the guy going to the 9's [Gragson] box. I backed up and yes, it messed up both of our pit stops."
Hemric believes that Gragson intentionally backed up into his car.
"I backed up and he decided to put it in reverse and cram into the right-front fender and knock a hole in our Poppy Bank Toyota Supra nose," Hemric said. "We had to pit again and fix it. That was completely deliberate and it was absolutely ridiculous ... punched a hole in the nose of our car and I got one punched in his eye. We're even."
Gragson also had the chance to give his perspective on the fight and spoke about it in an interview following the race.
"I don't know why he's mad. We were behind him coming onto pit road ... Then he was in our pit box and I had to come around him and not really sure why he was there, but had to back up and get there," Gragson said. "I'd be mad if I was in his shoes, too, just based off what he's done in his career, but it is what it is and we'll move on and keep on fighting."
Gragson finished in fourth, after overcoming a multi-car crash at the end of Stage 1. Hemric recorded his fifth top-10 finish of the season, landing in ninth place on the day.
On Monday, it was announced that the drivers will not be penalized for the incident. NASCAR vice president Scott Miller said that Gragson "didn't deliberately" reverse his car into Hemric's. Miller explained what lead to NASCAR's decision on SiriusXM NASCAR radio.
"Noah found himself outside the pit box and the only way he could really get back in was to back up as far as he could and I think he misjudged it there and hit [Hemric's car] and all kinds of mayhem ensued from there," Miller said.