NASCAR levied penalties on Tuesday evening against drivers Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears, who engaged in a shoving match that culminated in Ambrose punching Mears in the face moments after Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
Ambrose and Mears were found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing), and 12-4.9 (Behavioral Penalty; involved in an altercation in the garage area after the race) of the 2014 NASCAR rule book.
As a result, Ambrose has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 28, while Mears has been fined $15,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 28. Neither driver was suspended.
Mears, speaking in an exclusive interview Monday evening on NASCAR Race Hub, said the two drivers had discussed their altercation and seemed to have a better understanding.
Ambrose hasn’t spoken publicly since the confrontation but his Richard Petty Motorsports team issued a statement late Tuesday saying Ambrose would not appeal his penalty.
Kevin Harvick, speaking at a media event Tuesday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway before the penalties were announced, said he didn’t expect Ambrose or Mears to be penalized.
Harvick was surprised, however, that the drivers’ respective crews didn’t intervene before a punch was thrown.
"Casey was kind of the aggressor in the beginning of that whole thing, and by the time Marcos wound up against the car, he had probably had enough," Harvick said. "And the unique part about that whole situation is the team just kind of stood around. It usually doesn’t escalate to that point because team members get involved and just kind of break it up and you move on.
"That one was interesting to see everyone stand around and not get in the middle of it. It was almost like they had a pre-planned boxing match ready to roll there as they all watched. I think Marcos felt like he got backed into a corner and just felt like he needed to defend himself and landed a pretty solid shot."