No penalties issued for final lap at Fontana

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A chaotic final lap to Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway will yield no penalties from NASCAR.

The sanctioning body believes that Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were not trying to intentionally wreck each other while racing for the victory — which wound up going to Kyle Busch, who passed the pair on the high line as they were colliding together (see above).

“It was the last lap of the race, and the last time they were both going to see Turns 3 and 4,” Sprint Cup Series director John Darby told the AP’s Jenna Fryer. “They were side-by-side. If somebody was of the mindset to retaliate, they probably would have been lined up nose-to-tail and somebody would have drove into the other car and spun him around.

“In this case, that is so far from the opposite, that it never even crossed anybody’s mind that I’m aware of that paid attention to the race.”

In addition, Tony Stewart shall escape punishment after trading shoves with Logano on pit road after the race. Logano had blocked Stewart down to the apron during the race’s final restart, causing Stewart to go after the Penske Racing driver. After a brief dustup, the drivers’ crews separated them.

“A few years ago we backed away from micromanaging drivers’ emotions,” Darby said about the incident. “You would hope in today’s world that if somebody didn’t win a race, they would be upset about it.

“I don’t know that we’ve actually got a rule book that describes every push in the chest or kick in the shin. If two guys get into a helluva fight, we’re going to have to react. But a couple of guys blowing off some steam and slapping at the air is not going to get anybody in a whole lot of trouble.”

Hamlin eventually spun and hit the inside retaining wall, suffering a compression fracture in his L1 vertebrae as a result. He was released from a Southern California hospital last night, but it is currently unknown when he’ll be expected to return to the track.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.