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The All-Star Race weekend cost Ricky Stenhouse Jr more than he had bargained for. The #47 JTG Daugherty Racing garage was handed a $75,000 penalty by the governing body, the largest ever penalty to date on account of violating NASCAR Member Code of Conduct. But that’s not all. Add to that an indefinite suspension for his father and four race suspensions for two crew members. But the catch is, Kyle Busch was given a clean chit.

Early in lap 2, Busch’s Chevy bumped into Stenhouse Jr’s Chevrolet Camaro ZLI, a move that caused Stenhouse Jr to lose his cool in the first place. Ironically, this was overlooked by NASCAR executives, according to many. Though Elton Sawyer cited ‘hard racing’ at the All-Star Race behind Busch’s acquittal, Dale Earnhardt Jr couldn’t help but disagree with this reasoning.

Should Kyle Busch have been penalized?

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For the JR Motorsports owner, for Ricky Stenhouse Jr to pay such a price, and for Busch to just get away with his on-track behavior was not acceptable. Junior shared on the Dale Jr Download, “We know he wrecked him on purpose. We know it! And he gets nothing. I’m fine with him getting nothing if Ricky’s side was a little more reasonable. For Ricky’s side to be this big mountain of a penalty and Kyle’s to be nothing was a little surprising right?”

He highlighted how we’ve seen other drivers who have wrecked with intent in the past get penalized heavily. Although there were different variables for each incident, it was clear that Busch’s wreck had ill intent, as it occurred nearly two laps after the first misunderstanding on lap 1. Earnhardt Jr took fans to the Coca-Cola 600 last year when Chase Elliott was handed a one-race suspension for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin.

Junior concluded, “We’ve seen some people sit out of races for right-hooking people, at Charlotte with Chase Elliott and so forth. I didn’t really think Kyle should be suspended, I didn’t think anything about what Kyle did until you see the big fine that Ricky gets, and you’re like, “Oh wow, that much for Ricky, and nothing for Kyle? Okay.”

Stenhouse Jr was steaming for the rest of the race. He waited till the end of the race and decided to confront Busch post-race in the garage. Tough words were exchanged, and shortly after, Stenhouse Jr. threw a right hook on Busch’s face. Busch lost his balance and others standing nearby too joined in the fight. The fact that he waited 198 laps to settle up a bad motive was what Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Competition, cited as the reason for the heavy penalty. He elaborated,

When you wait 198 laps and you make those decisions that were made, we’re going to react to that… Granted there was no tunnel, granted there was no crossover bridge, but better decisions could have been made throughout that period of time between the incident that happened on the racetrack and the incident that happened in the garage post-race.

After taking a look at Dale Earnhardt Jr’s stance, it’s safe to say that the veteran is siding with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. But as Junior defended the man who premeditated the All-Star brawl, the JR Motorsports owner had to clear the air with NASCAR fans.

Dale Earnhardt Jr dismisses allegations of hypocrisy over his views on NASCAR brawls

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Dale Earnhardt Jr also highlighted the importance of NASCAR brawls in bringing in viewership by mentioning the 1979 Daytona 500. And how, even after all these years, the fight between Cale Yarbrough and Donnie Allison is one of the most viewed moments in the history of the sport. With that being said, some fans pointed out the irony in Jr’s stance on X.

According to the veteran, fans who were against the NASCAR Brawls pulled no punches against Junior. For them, his stance on the CARS Tour drivers maintaining decorum while encouraging fights in NASCAR didn’t sit too well. This prompted Junior to share, “I’ve been reading everybody’s opinion on social media and some people are like, hey, no fighting, don’t fight. Even me, people were like, ‘Hey Dale, you don’t like fighting in the CARS Tour, but you like it here? What the h*ll?’ And I agree with that, I don’t want fighting in the CARS Tour.”

For Junior, the CARS Tour was a delicate property. With its status as a new and upcoming category, Earnhardt Jr was aware that his series couldn’t afford such heroics. As opposed to the Cup Series, a category known for its heated moments on and off the track, the case wasn’t the same with Earnhardt Jr’s.

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The JR Motorsports owner concluded, “I don’t want nobody fighting in the CARS Tour right, none of it, because I feel like, when people see it on Flo, we’re the little racers at the short track, right? And I feel like it makes us look bad, when we’re striving to be better and bigger, and maybe one day continue to grow this series, so yeah, of course I don’t want us to fight. But this (Cup) is the elite top-level, right?” 

With Dale Earnhardt Jr bringing to light NASCAR’s favorable judgment on Busch’s incident, do you think the sport could have been fairer to Ricky Stenhouse Jr with a lighter fine than the $75,000?