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Revisiting The Most Recent Suspensions in NASCAR History

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Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen

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In the fast-paced world of NASCAR, more often than not, in the heat of the moment, drivers let their emotions get the better of them. In most cases, this lands them in trouble with NASCAR leading to suspensions being handed down afterwards.

There have been several instances involving big-name drivers missing multiple races for an on-track incident that crossed the line of racing too aggressively. Other times drivers have been suspended for an incident that never occurred out on the track.

Here are some of the most recent suspensions in NASCAR history.

1. Chase Elliott Suspended One Race After Wrecking Denny Hamlin- 2023 Coca-Cola 600

The Coca-Cola 600 is the most grueling, physically demanding race by far on the NASCAR schedule. Racing 600 miles for 4 hours on a sweltering May afternoon can lead to emotions reaching their boiling point.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin were racing each other during the race’s second of four stages, and Elliott got pushed up the track and into the outside wall coming through Turns 3 & 4. In an instant, Chase appeared to veer right and hook Denny Hamlin’s Toyota head-on into the outside wall, effectively taking both drivers out of the race that afternoon.

After investigating the accident, which Hamlin described as intentional as it could be, NASCAR dropped the hammer and suspended NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for one race as a result of his actions. With having missed 6 races earlier this season due to a snowboarding accident, this one-race suspension ruined any positive momentum Elliott’s team had and hurt his playoff chances.

2. Josh Williams- Parking His Car on the Front straightaway- Atlanta 2023

White knuckle restrictor plate racing usually ends up with a lot of busted-up sheet metal at the end of a race. On an overcast, chilly spring afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway that was exactly what happened.

A flurry of early accidents hampered the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, one that involved Josh Williams. Williams’ pit crew did a masterful job of keeping his car in the race by packing duct tape to keep loose pieces of sheet metal in place. Unfortunately due to the cold temperatures, the duct tape came undone and caused a caution sometime after.

NASCAR decided to park the driver of the #92 for intentionally bringing out the caution flag and told Williams to park his car for the day. Well, Williams took that message to heart, as he decided to make the start/finish line his own personal parking lot and strolled back to the garage area.

That forced NASCAR to suspend Williams for one race for failure to adhere to a request by NASCAR to come to pit road to retire from the event. Josh stated that he was upset but he admitted that he clearly violated an order from NASCAR.

3. Bubba Wallace Wrecks Kyle Larson- Las Vegas 2022

The NASCAR playoffs are the most highly anticipated time of year for fans around the world. For the drivers, the playoffs only mean high risk which could pay off in high reward in a championship at season’s end.

In the opening race of the Round of 8 of the playoffs, Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson were racing fairly hard coming off Turn 4 when Larson ran Wallace up into the wall. Wallace took exception to that mistake and turned into the right rear of Larson’s car sending both careening into the outside wall. Playoff contender Christopher Bell was an unfortunate causality of this accident as well.

Afterward, Bubba approached Kyle Larson and instantly started shoving him before NASCAR officials stepped in to break the two up.

NASCAR ultimately suspended Wallace for one race for his on-track retaliation against Larson and the shoving that occurred following the wreck. John Hunter Nemechek would replace Wallace the following week.

4. Matt Kenseth- Wrecking Joey Logano Intentionally- Martinsville 2015

2015 at the time marked the best opportunity for Joey Logano to win his first Cup Series championship. He had just finished off an earlier playoff round by winning all 3 races and had all the momentum.

The Paperclip at Martinsville is where short tracks lead to short tempers, which Matt Kenseth had a lot after having been turned by Logano while racing for the lead at Kansas a few races prior.

After an accident on track on a restart, Kenseth went to the garage for repairs, then returned to the track multiple laps down while Logano continued on as the leader. After waiting for the #22 to come back around, Kenseth wrecked Logano going into turn 1 much to the delight of the Martinsville crowd that afternoon as they erupted in cheers.

NASCAR didn’t take too kindly to the incident, suspending Kenseth for the next 2 points races as a result. The damage had already been done for Logano and his team, as he wouldn’t advance to the Championship 4 that season.

5. Noah Gragson Indefinitely Suspended Following Social Media Post- August 2023

The 2023 Cup season for Noah Gragson, one of the biggest personalities in the garage area was anything but sunshine and roses. In fact, the entire Legacy Motor Club team has struggled at times throughout this season.

Gragson simply struggled to finish races this season leaving him towards the bottom of the points standings among drivers competing full time. Things came to a head in early August, as NASCAR indefinitely suspended Gragson after he liked a racial post on social media.

The Iceberg gave his thoughts on the Gragson suspension and how much NASCAR has changed throughout the years when it comes to suspensions that have nothing to do with the on-track product.

In the days following the indefinite suspension of Gragson, we shared our thoughts on what the next steps would be for Noah, as he has since been reinstated by NASCAR after completing sensitivity training in the last few weeks.

Suspensions are sometimes a way for NASCAR to deliver a clear message that these drivers are meant to put on good, quality racing for the fans without destroying race cars with intent. What are some of the more recent suspensions you can remember?

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Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen

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