In any competition, it’s not uncommon for things to get a little heated between opponents. And in a NASCAR race, it’s even more expected. After all, how often do you get road rage in an everyday scenario? NASCAR drivers drive aggressively for hundreds of miles, going hundreds of miles an hour. Honestly, it’s more surprising that there aren’t more fights between drivers.
During last weekend’s Xfinity Series race, Noah Gragson backed into Daniel Hemric while both were stopped in pit road. The ensuing damage to Hemric’s car set the driver off, who was convinced that Gragson did it on purpose. “He was oblivious to what was going on and my situation,” Hemric said. “He crammed it into reverse and purposely backed into the front of my [Toyota] Supra and punched a hole in the front.”
The situation was already spiraling out of control, but when Daniel Hemric confronted Noah Gragson during his post-race interview, the situation devolved into complete chaos. With interviewers and the entire Beard Motorsports team looking on, fists started to fly.
After landing a punch or two each, the Beard Motorsports team pulled the two apart. At that point, however, Noah Gragson was enraged and charged after the retreating Hemric to throw a few more punches.
It seems that the brief fight was enough for Daniel Hemric to get it out of his system, however. He said in a later interview, “There’s a hole in the nose of my car and he got popped in the eye. Where I stand from, we’re in pretty good shape.”
NASCAR Drivers Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric Avoid Punishment
NASCAR not only expects a fight now and then but typically allows drivers to exchange a few blows to alleviate whatever frustrations may be brewing between them. Now, there are rules against interfering with another team’s pit, but NASCAR doesn’t believe Noah Gragson hit Daniel Hemric with malicious intent.
NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, Scott Miller, gave the following statement. “A chain reaction of events led to the #18 [Hemric] and #9 [Gragson] both overshooting their pit stalls. The #9 ended up both long and out of his pit box to the outside, and needed to back up as far as possible to have any chance at fully pulling into his box.”
“After reviewing the video, it is our judgement that the contact was not deliberate,” concluded the NASCAR VP.
Here’s what Noah Gragson had to say after the fight: pic.twitter.com/4B2rS3WDlQ— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 20, 2021
Despite both Daniel Hemric and NASCAR themselves shrugging off the incident, Noah Gragson obviously still felt slighted post-fight. “He was in our pit box, and I had to come around him,” Gragson said. “Not really sure why he was there. I had to back up to get [out of] there… I’d be mad if I was in his shoes, too…just based off what he’s done in his career.”