New Smyrna Speedway handed down penalties to Carter Stokes and the No. 33 Pro Late Model team Wednesday afternoon as a result of an altercation in Victory Lane following Saturday’s Zack Donatti Memorial race.
Stokes and the Racecar Solutions team have been suspended two races (April 1 and April 15), fined $1,000 and placed on indefinite probation. The penalties come after the team confronted and caused injury to race winner Casey Roderick in Victory Lane.
“Basically, we accept whatever discipline they give us,” said Jamie Skinner, team representative and son of former NASCAR driver Mike Skinner. “We were wrong in the way that we handled ourselves. Our team was not professional, so we deserve to be disciplined. We let our emotions and passion override our brains, and we don’t normally act that way. It’s not the way that we train our drivers or anybody on our team to act. I apologize to Casey Roderick and his team, and we accept the consequences.”
Roderick told Speed51.com that he doesn’t believe the penalties were stiff enough for the actions of the Racecar Solutions team.
“That isn’t that much,” Roderick said. “That could have been my life taken away when you’re getting kicked in the temple. That’s nothing to play around with. I would have had more of a fine. You’re talking about someone’s life here, so I would have suspended him for the whole year. $1,000 is nothing to them. I feel like a year’s suspension away from the track and a bigger fine would have been appropriate.”
Although Skinner accepted the penalty and was very adamant that he knows his team didn’t act the right way, he did explain the emotion that went into the race.
“There was a lot more involved in this race than probably everybody realizes,” Skinner stated. “Carter was best friends with Zack Donatti and it was Zack’s (Memorial) race. There was a lot of emotion that went into this race, and a lot of things that people aren’t probably taking into the equation. However, the two drivers should have handled it amongst themselves and that’s the way it should have been.”
As a result of the physical confrontation, Roderick said he has bruises to the right side of his face from being kicked twice.
Saturday night’s incident took place after contact was made between Stokes and Roderick as the two drivers battled for the win in the Zack Donatti Memorial 125.
"We caught a lapped car on the bottom in the final corner and he (Stokes) slowed way up compared to other corners," Roderick explained. "That's how I was able to catch him. He went high and we made contact."
Roderick said at the time of the incident he was surprised at how quickly things escalated in victory lane.
“Just looking at the situation and how it happened, everything was calm until the driver came over,” said Roderick. “When he got there he grabbed me and pulled me forward that’s when everything broke out and I went to the ground.”
Roderick is scored as the official winner of Saturday’s Zack Donatti Memorial 125. Stokes was officially scored in last-place (22nd) after being disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct following the post-race altercation.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor, and Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51 and @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com