Race Weekend Central

‘I Wouldn’t Be Able to Pay the Fine’: Cup Drivers React to Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s $75K Penalty

CONCORD, N.C. — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fined $75,000 for his role in a post-race altercation with Kyle Busch at North Wilkesboro Speedway last Sunday (May 19) — the largest fine in NASCAR history for a fight.

Just about all of the garage was on Stenhouse’s side, as they expressed concern with the hefty fine and the hypocrisy of the fine while using the fight in promotions.

“75,000? Wow,” Chase Elliott said. “I heard he got fined, I didn’t know it was 75 grand.”

“It’s a lot of money,” Elliott continued. “That seems wild to me. That seems like a lot for that situation. You gonna fine him, but you gonna promote with it? Like, what are we doing.

“That’s a little strange to me, that’s just my first thought that comes to my mind is, it’s a lot of money to fine a guy. It’s not okay, but we’re gonna blast it all over everything to get more clicks. I don’t really agree with it.”

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Ryan Preece was concerned with the how big the fine was, especially when considering that we’re nearly two decades away from NASCAR’s mid-2000s peak where money grew on trees.

“We want to show emotion, but $75,000? I don’t know if this is 2005 anymore,” Preece said. “I feel for Ricky and having to pay that type of fine.

“For me, I couldn’t race because I wouldn’t be able to pay the fine. So, I think if I’m ever put in that situation where you want to express your anger or do something, you can’t. I feel for Ricky, that’s all. $75K, it’s a lot of money.”

When Noah Gragson was asked about the fine handed to Stenhouse, he gave a short but simple response:

“That’s why you’ve never seen me throw a first punch.”

Denny Hamlin thought premeditation played a role in Stenhouse’s penalty, as the fight occurred nearly two hours after the initial incident. Still, he admitted shock about just how high the fine was.

“I hear NASCAR get a lot of flak about being inconsistent, but they have been consistent when things are heat of the moment; they typically let things go a little bit,” Hamlin said. “But when you’ve had time to premeditate, they come down a little more severely. Still, [the penalty] is kind of unprecedented from a number’s standpoint.”

Sharing these altercations for click is nothing new, and Hamlin touched on the balancing act that NASCAR has between penalties, keeping order and the promotion of such incidents.

“[Promotion’s] been going on for a really long time,” Hamlin said. “I think there’s certainly been things that [NASCAR] quietly likes to root for, but publicly, they have to do something different because they don’t want it to get out of hand. …

“With that dollar fire, you’re certainly going to have people think, ‘I don’t want that,’ so you might not get what you are probably hoping for (fights) if you’re NASCAR. It might hurt a little bit in that instance, but I think they’re okay with general altercations, but it was just the amount of time that elapsed between the incident when it happened that caught them off guard.”

As for Stenhouse himself, he appreciated the support he’s received from fans and people within the industry this past week.

“I think for the most part, the whole industry and fanbase is kind of weighed in on the side that I feel like I fall on,” Stenhouse said.

“… It’s cool to see Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott and 90% of the Cup field kind of feel the same way, and it seems to be about 95% of our fanbase that feels the same way. That’s nice to have all of them in our corner. I don’t know if that helps or not, that’s still 75 grand that I got to pay. But it does make you feel good that most of the people in the industry feel the same way.”

Likewise, Stenhouse wasn’t surprised about the fight’s promotion.

“It’s been done in the past, so it’s not nothing new. There’s been other instances where that happened, very similar[ly]. It is what it is.”

Was there anything he’d do different from last week, or would he do it all over again?

“Yeah, there’s a couple things [I’d change].”

And while $75,000 out of the checkbook hurts all the same, he at least had a good sense of humor about the whole ordeal.

“It’s a lot, one that is the most they’ve ever fined anybody. But I guess we won something; we won the highest fine.”

About the author

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Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch and is a three-year veteran of the site. His weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” He also writes commentary, contributes to podcasts, edits articles and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage.

Can find on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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8 Comments
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Steven

I don’t think Nascar will take the money. Just using the opportunity to discourage future violence.

DoninAjax

NA$CAR has already spent the $75,000 on another brilliant idea yet to come.

SCATMAN

Yeah, designing a slightly bigger OVAL

DoninAjax

So I guess if the fine wasn’t paid he wouldn’t be allowed in the event or is that the Carl Long “rule”?

Last edited 21 days ago by DoninAjax
Robert B

I think they oughta give Stenhouse $5K back every time they use the video for promotion purposes.

WD

I’m sure the fight will be featured prominently in the next Netflix season of Full Speed Maybe RS can recoup his fine

kb

NASCAR is beyond stupid and nuts. GO RICKY, and I don’t even like him!

Steve

If Nascar wanted to quash it, they could have. They had 2 hours to call him over to the Nascar hauler and lay down the law. But they didn’t, and let it all happen because they knew of the free promotional material that they could get out of it. And that’s just part of the hypocrisy of it all.

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