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The Brawl Between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. & Kyle Busch that Led to a Record NASCAR Fine

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch' brawl led to a first for a driver in NASCAR. 

By Matthew Jackson

NASCAR Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fined $75,000 Wednesday for his role in a brawl over the weekend at NASCAR's All-Star Race in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The post-race fight, allegedly initiated by Stenhouse Jr. against fellow driver Kyle Busch, made national headlines. 

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According to The Associated Press, the fine is the largest ever handed down by NASCAR to a driver for fighting. 

Issues began almost immediately after the start of the All-Star Race, an event that does not award drivers points in the overall Cup standings for the season. After Stenhouse and Busch's cars bumped during the first lap, Busch's No. 8 car again bumped Stenhouse's No. 47, this time more seriously. After just two laps, the No. 47 car was wrecked and unable to continue the race. 

Frustrated, Stenhouse deliberately parked his wrecked vehicle in Busch's pit area, exchanged words with Busch's crew, then stormed off. Because North Wilkesboro Speedway does not have a tunnel or crossover bridge to allow drivers to leave during a race, Stenhouse had no choice but to stay in the infield and watch as Busch kept driving.

When the race ended, Stenhouse and members of his crew, including his father, Richard Stenhouse Sr., confronted Busch and his crew, and Stenhouse threw a punch to Busch's face. A scuffle ensued between both crews that saw several people, including Stenhouse's father, involved directly in the fray. For his role in the brawl, Stenhouse Sr. has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR, and two members of Stenhouse's crew have been handed multi-race suspensions. Mechanic Clint Myrick will sit for eight race, while engine tuner Keith Matthews will sit for four.

According to NASCAR officials, the suspensions and the seriousness of the fine stem, in part, from Stenhouse's decision to go through with the confrontation despite having the entire race to rethink his position and take a different approach. 

“When you wait 198 laps and you make those decisions that were made, again, we’re going to react to that,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer said. ”Once we get to the point where it gets physical, we want the two drivers to be able to have time to express their differences. Once it escalates to a physical altercation, we are going to react."

Each of the penalties, Sawyer said, are appealable. The NASCAR Cup Series is set to continue May 26 with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.