Following last Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway there was an incident between drivers Casey Mears and Marcos Ambrose. The two drivers had battled one another on the track during the closing laps of the Toyota Owners 400 and found each other once they got out of their cars.
Mears could be seen shoving Ambrose. That led to Ambrose landing a punch in Mears’ face.
Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 Ford for Richard Petty Racing, and team owner Richard Petty spoke out about the incident.
Speaking about the incident Ambrose said it was the first time he had been in this situation saying, “I’ve never been in this situation before, and it was for 18th. That just shows you the passion we have in our sport that I’m able to get myself in a physical fight and draw a claret to finish 18th. That just shows you how deep the talent is and how much passion and commitment we all have to what we’re doing.”
Ambrose described the altercation as “impromptu” as he was seeking out David Gilliland to talk about contact between the two. Ambrose says it was at that time that Mears said something to him.
“To be honest with you, once he put his hand on me and started pushing me around I was just trying to stand up for myself and my country and my family and my reputation and I threw a punch down on him to get him out of the way and let him know that I didn’t respect him not giving me my private space. As it goes down, if I had my chance to think back about it, a wiser man would have walked away a little bit earlier and not got himself in that situation. I don’t apologize for my actions. I was just standing up for myself and my team and my family and letting people know that you can’t get in my private space like that and expect not to have any consequences.”
Ambrose said that he had spoken to Mears since the incident and said that the two drivers had mutual respect for one another. Additionally Ambrose was not upset that he was fined $25,000 by NASCAR noting that the sport needed to do something.
Petty took up for Ambrose even laughing the fine off.
“You’ve got to defend yourself no matter what, but if he knew he was gonna be fined $25,000 he might have let the guy take another swing at him (laughing). As you can see in the tape, he did not initiate any of that. He was trying to get away, so I think, from that standpoint, I don’t know what their rationale is. I’ll just have to talk to them (NASCAR) and see what they come up with.”
“I always look at it as you have to defend yourself no matter what the circumstances are, and that’s what I saw in the Marcos situation. What provoked it? I have no idea. I don’t even think Marcos knows really what provoked the whole thing, but in the scheme of things if you can’t protect yourself, then NASCAR is not gonna come and protect you, so he had to do what he had to do.”