McMurray on Ambrose, Mears: “I wish NASCAR would just let it go”

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Count one driver not in favor of the penalties doled out to Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears on Tuesday by NASCAR: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jamie McMurray.

During a teleconference Wednesday, McMurray told reporters that in the heat of the moment, sometimes emotions come out charged up and lead to a situation where a punch in the garage could happen.

“Well, I hoped that NASCAR would just let that go,” he said. “They have preached to all of us that they want us to be who we are, and I think it’s good that you have some characters in the sport that ‑ I’m not calling Casey or Marcus out, but not everyone is willing to ‑ or is the type of guy that would punch someone, right? Everyone has a moment that they’re extremely upset, but I don’t think that ‑ I think you can count on one hand the guys that would actually throw a punch. Everyone is talking about it.”

But, he said, people are talking about it – and that’s the tell-all. Even when McMurray was in the midst of house construction.

“I’m building a house, and when I got up to the home site, that’s all the guys wanted to talk about was ‘Oh, my gosh, did you see that,’ and they wanted to know if I have any inside scoop. I think it’s great,” he said.

Given the now likelihood of a fine in such a situation, McMurray said this would reduce the likelihood of any further fisticuffs.

“I don’t know, I was really hoping that NASCAR was going to let it go or that the fines would be less because that’s a huge ‑ $25,000 is massive,” McMurray said. “My opinion of that is that you won’t see it happen again because I think people will think about that and be like, it’s not worth it. It’s not worth $25,000 for me to express exactly how I feel at this time.”

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.