Marcos Ambrose says he won't apologize for punching another NASCAR driver in the face during a post-race altercation at the Richmond International Raceway over the weekend.
During an event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday Ambrose called the altercation "quite impromptu."
He says he was headed to speak to driver David Gilliland after the pair had a couple run-ins on the track during the race.
"Some words were said and I was confused about why Casey was so annoyed at me," Ambrose told WBTV.
He said the passion drivers have for the race and their performance was very obvious. Ambrose admits hat passion got out of hand the situation got out of control "pretty quick."
"To be honest with you, once he put his hand on me and started pushing me around, I was just trying to stand up for myself and my country and my family and my reputation," Ambrose said. "I threw a punch down on him to get him out of the way and to let him know that I didn't respect him getting in my private space.
That punch landed on Mears face causing him to bleed above his eye.
Ambrose says he knows things could have gone differently, but doesn't apologize for the punch.
"A wiser man would have walked away a little bit earlier and not got himself in that situation. So I don't apologize for my actions. I was just standing up for myself," he said. "You can't get in my private space like that and expect not to have any consequences."
NASCAR officials levied a $25,000 fine against Ambrose. Mears was fined $15,000.
Ambrose is not appealing and said Thursday he'll pay the fine. His car owner, Richard Petty, thinks it is ridiculous that his driver was punished at all.
Petty says Ambrose shouldn't be fined for defending himself. Richard Petty says he wants to discuss the penalty with NASCAR officials.
WBTV's cameras were rolling when Petty and Ambrose discussed the incident on Thursday morning.
"At the time, you know, I just blew if off. I was okay. Then I got home and thought 'Oh geez, I just punched a guy right in the face," Ambrose told Petty. "And by Sunday morning I was like 'Oh, I wish I didn't do that'."
"No, you did what you're supposed to do," Petty responded. "If you can't defend yourself, what can you do? If you can't defend you and your family - the heck with everything else."
Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:50 AM EDT2014-07-29 09:50:38 GMT
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