NASCAR penalizes Gragson for intentional Road America crash in Wisconsin

Nascar Noah Gragson Auto Racing
FILE - Noah Gragson prepares on pit road for the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. The star Xfinity Series driver for JR Motorsports is in the spotlight again for all the wrong reasons: the poor choices he’s making on track that are slowing Gragson’s career progression. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — NASCAR on Wednesday penalized Noah Gragson for a deliberate and dangerous crash he caused in the Xfinity Series race at Road America.

Gragson, who turns 24 later this month, was docked 30 points and fined $35,000 by NASCAR for intentionally crashing into Sage Karam on Saturday at the road course in Wisconsin.

Gragson’s swerve into Karam triggered a frightening multicar crash that was so egregious, he was criticized ahead of the penalty announcement by Dale Earnhardt Jr. The NASCAR Hall of Famer and co-owner of the JR Motorsports team Gragson has represented since 2019 was surprised NASCAR didn’t immediately penalize his driver.

“I was shocked, to be honest with you, when I saw Noah make that decision,” Earnhardt said Wednesday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I was just completely shocked and in a bit of a disbelief not only that he made that choice but that he, you know, that it created such an accident and got so many other guys involved. That was tough to watch, really tough.

“I think that NASCAR doesn’t want to over-officiate the races, but I think in some situations there’s some things that do cross over a line. And I felt like that was definitely one of those situations where had I been in the booth directing the race I think I would’ve had to bring Noah to pit road and hold him there for a while.”