Driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. looks on prior to a NASCAR...

Driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. looks on prior to a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Darlington, S.C. Stenhouse Jr. was fined $75,000 by NASCAR on Wednesday, May 22, for fighting with Kyle Busch after the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Credit: AP/Matt Kelley

CONCORD, N.C. — Chase Elliott criticized NASCAR for fining driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $75,000 for punching Kyle Busch following Sunday night’s All-Star Race after it had used video of the fight on social media.

It was the largest fine ever handed down for fighting in NASCAR history.

Elliott, speaking ahead of this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, said he knew Stenhouse had been fined but appeared stunned when informed the amount by a member of the media.

“That seems like a lot for that situation,” Elliott said. “You are going to fine him, but you are going to promote with it? Like, what are we doing? That’s a little strange to me. ... That’s a lot of money to fine a guy. It’s like, ‘It’s not OK, but we are going to blast it all over everything to get more clicks.’”

Elliott was referring to NASCAR posting video of the fight at North Wilkesboro Speedway on the social platform X along with the words: “We’ll call this a ... difference of opinion.”

Busch was not penalized.

Stenhouse's father, Ricky Sr., — who has no affiliation with his son's team — was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Wednesday for his role in the fracas when he went after Busch. Stenhouse mechanic Clint Myrick was suspended for eight races and engine tuner Keith Matthews for four races for their roles in the fight.

Stenhouse and Busch tangled on the first lap and then Busch seemed to deliberately wreck Stenhouse on the next lap. Stenhouse rolled his damaged Chevrolet down pit lane and parked it in Busch’s pit stall. He then climbed the spotter’s ladder and exchanged words with members of Busch’s crew before retreating to his hauler.

Stenhouse stewed in the infield for more about two hours, waiting on Busch to finish the race, then confronted him and threw a punch, igniting a melee between the teams.

“I think, really, what we all want is consistency and knowing what the rule is and what’s OK and what’s not OK," All-Star Race winner Joey Logano said. ”That’s really all you ask for. Whether it’s the car or restarts or altercations apparently, just let me know the rules, is what I want to know. What is the price I’m about to pay if I make this decision and is it worth it? That’s really how it’s got to be, is just looking for consistency in that to where it’s the same all the time, and I know it’s hard to do. That’s a lot to ask for because every situation could be a little bit different. It’s a judgment call. There’s no black and white."

Both Stenhouse and Busch plan to race Sunday.

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