NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose won’t apologize for punching another driver, however next time he will do his best to simply walk away before it gets to that point. Ambrose tangled with driver Casey Mears after the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway last Saturday night. The two drivers could be seen exchanging words before it appeared that Ambrose was grabbed by Mears; moments later Ambrose delivered a punch that connected with the side of Mears head. The duo was quickly separated by crewmembers.
Thursday Ambrose appeared at a media event at Charlotte Motor Speedway and spoke about the incident for the first time.
“The altercation I had with Casey was quite impromptu,” Ambrose said. “As I was walking past the 13 car, as he’d finished the race, I was actually heading over to have a chat with David Gilliland just to say we’re all good after we got into each other a couple of times. Some words were said and I was confused about why Casey was so annoyed at me, and I think you just see a lot of the passion that the drivers have and the commitment we have to try to win these races and try to run at the front. That passion kind of got out of hand and got out of control pretty quick. “
Ambrose said things went downhill when Mears put his hands on him and started pushing him around
“I was just trying to stand up for myself and my country and my family and my reputation,” Ambrose said. “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.”
He added that now that he has had time to think about it, he should have distanced himself. However he regrets nothing that happened Saturday night.
“A wiser man would have walked away a little bit earlier and not got himself in that situation,” he said. “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 he has spoken to Mears since the incident.
“I honestly believe that we’ll enjoy having a beer with each other,” Ambrose said. “I think we have a mutual respect for each other. I like Casey a lot. I didn’t have any beef with him after the race, but emotions just got out of hand and we both recognized that if we had our time again it wouldn’t happen again, but now it has, you can’t take back what has happened. I’ve spoken to him and I’m not carrying anything forward. He has to decide what he wants to do moving forward, but if we get ourselves in a pub somewhere I’d buy him a beer no problem.”
Tuesday, NASCAR penalized both Ambrose and Mears. with Ambrose was fined $25,000, Mears $15,000. Both were placed on probation until the end of May.
“I caused an action that NASCAR needed to reprimand, so I’m happy to pay it and happy to move on.,” Ambrose said Wednesday. “It’s a heavy fine. That’s the biggest fine I’ve ever received in racing and I think that NASCAR needed to do something and whatever they chose to do I’ll pay it.”
Ambrose said if confronted with the same situation in the future he might handle it differently.
“I think next time I might scamper into the race hauler or scamper back to the plane and have a sleep on things,” he said. There’s just so much emotion. In this example, this is the first time I’ve been involved in something like this. At the time, even after the incident went down, I didn’t think much of it. I just thought, ‘Well, he started pushing me around and I just had to get him away from me,’ because I didn’t know what was gonna happen next. If he starts pushing me in the toolbox what happens next? Is he gonna try to throw one on me?”
“It wasn’t until a few hours later that the adrenaline starts to whoa down,” he added. “You start to realize what you had done. And then the next day when you have to talk to your kids about it and your wife is mad at you, you realize that walking away would have been a much smarter option.”