NASCAR: Mears, Ambrose fined, put on probation after fight
NASCAR fined Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears on Tuesday and put the drivers on probation as a result of a post-race fight on Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
After the two battled for 18th place during the Toyota Owners 400 Sprint Cup race, Mears shoved Ambrose against a car in the garage area. He was fined $15,000 for his actions and placed on probation until May 28.
Ambrose retaliated by punching Mears in the face. He was fined $25,000 and placed given probration for the same period. Mears was left with a swollen and red left eye.
NASCAR ruled that the actions were “detrimental to stock car racing” and it penalized the pair for being involved in an altercation in the garage after a race.
“At the end of the day, none of that should ever happen,” Mears said. “But in the heat of the moment, when you get out of your race car, and some stuff just happened that you didn’t like, we started going at each other, and before we knew it, it escalated very quickly.”
Mears said the two drivers have talked since then. Ambrose has not commented on the sanctions.
Fellow driver Kevin Harvick said that he did not see the need for a a fine.
“It’s kind of like the retaliation thing on the racetrack,” he said. “When you have guys pulling out of the pits and just ‘Days of Thunder’-ing a guy to knock him back out of the race, those kinds of things are very late modelish to me. The after-the-race stuff can go either way; it can be an argument, it can escalate. You hope that it doesn’t come to that point; that’s pretty physical.”
KURT BUSCH RUNS LAPS AT INDY
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch tested Tuesday in an IndyCar in preparation to make a qualifying attempt for the Indianapolis 500 next month.
Busch is hoping to drive in the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C., on May 25. Only three other drivers — John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart — have done it.
Busch has previously driven in Sprint Cup races at the historic 2.5-mile oval and so the track was not unfamiliar to him. He ran a lap at 220.844 mph before rain ended the practice session.
“This attempt is something serious,” Busch said. “It’s an amazing challenge.
“Overall, it was a good day just to settle in with the team and advance further than rookie orientation. It felt good to give feedback to the team from the car and have them explain things to me how we’re going to move forward. They continued to change downforce combinations on the car and it was just neat to feel all that and check it off the list.
“The last run we made was just about where they would unload for race trim.”