Kelly Earnhardt Miller addressed the penalties NASCAR issued to JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson following Saturday's wreck at Road America.
On Wednesday, NASCAR deducted 30 points from Gragson in the Xfinity Series standings and fined him $35,000 for intentionally hitting Sage Karam's car. JR Motorsports issued a statement on behalf of Earnhardt Miller, who co-owns the team alongside brother Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"We understand today's penalty," Earnhardt Miller said. "Noah is a passionate racecar driver, and his actions occurred in the heat of the moment. Learning how and when to keep emotions in check is all part of the learning experience."
Most fans aren't letting Gragson off the hook due to a lack of experience. While the 23-year-old certainly has plenty of time to mature, he started racing for Xfinity Series four years ago.
With seven wins, 81 top-10 finishes, and a third-place finish in the final 2021 standings, fans believe Gragson should already know better by now.
Earnhardt defended her driver on Twitter over the weekend, saying she's "not embarrassed" and "the highs and lows are all part of what we do."
Dale Earnhardt, on the other hand, was not as diplomatic. Speaking Wednesday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, he said Gragson's actions were “crossing the line clearly." He was also surprised that NASCAR didn't penalize him during the race.
"I told him that I could stand behind him through just about anything, but I could not defend that," Earnhardt said. "And that’s a difficult thing for me."
We'll see if Gragson truly does learn from this experience.