Race Weekend Central

Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric Clash After Xfinity Race at Atlanta

While the oft-nicknamed “Hotlanta” Motor Speedway sat in the mid-50s in regards to temperatures on Saturday (March 20), the tempers were certainly boiling once the afternoon’s EchoPark 250 had concluded in the Peach State.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series event was won by Justin Allgaier, followed by Martin Truex Jr. in the latter’s first NXS race in more than 10 years. Truex’s post-race interview was interrupted when Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric started brawling on pit road.

Tempers had flared earlier in the same area during the race, when Gragson backed his No. 9 Chevrolet into the front bumper of Hemric’s No. 18 Toyota during stops. Gragson’s car nearly hit a member of Hemric’s crew and, according to Hemric later on, punched a hole in the nose of the Joe Gibbs Racing machine.

This led to the post-race fracas when Gragson, who finished fourth, was giving an interview and Hemric, who came home ninth, walked up to and then went after him. Hemric shoved Gragon and the two grappled for a moment. Gragson threw a punch, Hemric dodged it and landed one of his own before the two were separated.

Hemric was pushed back by a member of Gragson’s crew and the JR Motorsports driver got one more swing in before the fight fizzled out.

“I don’t know why he’s mad,” Gragson said to FOX Sports after the melee. “We were behind him coming onto pit road because we corded our right front tire, and he was in our pit box and I had to come around him and not really sure why he’s there. But had to back up and get there, but a lot of fun.”

Gragson thanked his sponsors and the fans, but took a shot at Hemric before the interview was over.

“…I’d be mad if I was in his shoes too,” he added. “Just based off what he’s doing and his career. But it is what it is and we’ll move on, keep on fighting and, man. What a day.”

Hemric, meanwhile, seemed to take solace in the confrontation.

“[He] and I both had struggled,” Hemric said after the race. “He had had issues, got crashed early, we just struggled with the speed…came to pit there on the end of that – during that caution. And when I pulled in my box, we had a guy who went to leave at the same time from the box behind us and [made] me have to go long, pull in the [No.] 9’s box and back up.

“I guess he was oblivious to what was going on and what my situation was,” Hemric added, “so by the time the [No.] 9 got into his box, he crammed it in reverse and purposely drove the back of his car into the front of my Supra. Punched a hole in the nose of our Supra, and where I come from you get punched in the eye for that. So that’s what happened.”

Hemric was also asked how he would take the fight going forward, considering both drivers will compete against each other on a weekly basis in 2021.

“Like I said, there’s a hole in the nose of my car and he got popped in the eye,” he said. “Where I stand, we’re in pretty good shape.”

About the author

 | Website

Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he covered sports there and later spent a year and a half as a sports host on 910 the Fan in Richmond, VA. He's freelanced for Richmond Magazine and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and also hosts the "Adam Cheek's Sports Week" podcast. Adam has followed racing since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

idiot. someone is going to get hurt cause of Noah’s temper. passion is one thing, stupid and arrogance is another.

Carl D.

Amen, Janice.


but you can’t fix stoopid.


Gragson is just the latest portrait of rich kid entitlement. He shouldn’t be allowed to race until he grows up.


From the replay I just watched here, I didn’t see any contact at al between the cars. I have no idea where the hole in Hemrics’ car came from, but it didn’t appear to be from this pit road incident. Not saying That Gragson was right doing what he did.

WJW Motorsports

Pretty well established now that Noah’s talent well exceeds his intelligence and maturity at this point. which has established him as a “villain” – which of course NASCAR and TV loves… But this incident was just a racing deal. Of course all the replays conveniently show the end of the incident but not the beginning. Every driver is pissed to find another car in his stall blocking him (which they aren’t bothering to show) and no driver knows (or cares) what happened to cause it. Dumb to back into him of course – but it was just a tap. Last – not a big fan of one driver attacking another while that driver is standing in the middle of an interview. Wait back by the hauler until the guy comes back – and then have it out.


Gragson is hardly ever right in what he does. .He is quick on the track but not as quick as his temper. Unlike most nascar scuffles when Noah is involved there are usually fisticuffs. Hemric needs to show aggression on the track like he did coming after Gragson after the race. Maybe Noah has done him a favor by awakening some passion which he needs if he is ever to get the second place monkey off of his back. He has the equipment to do it and this may be his last chance if he doesn’t perform

JD in NC

Hemric’s tire changer was within a fraction of a second from jumping up and running around the front of the car to change the left side. The jackman was already dropping the right side. So he could have been hit and injured. Luckily, you can see Gragson’s rear tire changer waving, and I assume yelling, to Hemric’s crew letting them know to watch out. From the overhead pit camera shot (posted on twitter by Gragson) you can see him flipping off Hemric as he pulls forward which shows he was pisssed off, thus lending credence to the backing up into Hemric being anger driven. Gragson’s drama outweighs his talent. At what point does this leave him without a ride?

Jill P

As long as money is coming in, he will always have a ride somewhere. He also provides people something to talk about.


He works for Junior and Junior likes him. This disappoints me. Junior has class. Gragson does not.


Actually, I’m not so sure that Junior shows much class when he refuses to confront Gragson about his behavior.

Bill B

He’s no villain. He’s just a dick.


Sounds a lot like either of the Busch brothers at the beginning of their careers, no?


A lot more than just those two. Some still.

Share via