In an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, said the sanctioning body looked at the incident but decided against any official sanctions.
Sawyer did say officials have spoken to both drivers and their respective teams about what transpired after Sunday’s Cup race.
“Our guys – using Sunday, everybody was on the edge – so, when you feel like your day hasn’t gone the way that you had hoped it would, and someone had impacted that with a way you’re not happy, you’re going to show your displeasure. So, we’ll continue to have some dialogue with those two organizations and make sure we’re in a good place.
“Noah and Ross got to a level there that we would have preferred not to have seen but they were both showing their displeasure over what happened. Again, it’s an emotional sport and from time to time you’re going to have disagreements and you’re going to see that.”
Gragson apparently was not happy that he ended up hitting the wall late in the race while battling three-wide with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chastain. Chastain was in the middle lane, got loose and drifted up the track.
Chastain never made contact with Gragson but the situation resulted in Gragson hitting the outside wall. Gragson did come back down the track and hit the right-side of Chastain’s No. 1 Chevrolet afterwards.
After the race, Gragson confronted Chastain on pit road. The two talked briefly before Gragson grabbed Chastain and pushed him several times before Chastain struck Gragson in the face. The two were then quickly separated by NASCAR security officials.
Sawyer said NASCAR officials – those that officiate the race – are instructed not to get involved with driver confrontations. He complimented the officials and both driver’s teams for giving the drivers space.
“Our security people did get involved and they will get involved. They’ll let them have their space in order to talk but once it rises to a level like it did on Sunday, they’re going to get involved and break it up,” Sawyer said.
“They all handled it very well.”
NASCAR did make changes in its rulebook prior to the start of the 2023 season to give itself the ability to crackdown on egregious driver altercations.
The new addition allows NASCAR to fine, suspend and/or revoke membership for “Member-to-member confrontation(s) with physical violence (e.g. striking another Competitor) and other violent manifestations such as significant threat(s) and/or abuse and/or endangerment.”