Marcos Ambrose wishes he would have walked away and not punched Casey Mears Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
That doesn't mean, however, the Australian driver is sorry.
"I don't apologize for my actions," Ambrose said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in audio provided by Motor Racing Network. "I was just standing up for myself, my country, my team and my family and letting people know that you can't get in my private space like that and expect to not have any consequences."
Mears confronted Ambrose following the Toyota Owners 400, and when Ambrose attempted to walk away, Mears pushed and grabbed him. Feeling threatened, it was at that moment Ambrose slugged Mears in the left side of his head.
"He was upset and he was letting me know how upset he was," Ambrose said. "When I went to walk away, he just couldn't handle it any longer. As soon as he grabbed hold of me there, I knew I was going to have to get a shot in. I was just waiting for the right moment."
Since the incident, the two have spoken "in-depth more than once," according to Ambrose, who says he holds no grudges against Mears and would gladly "buy him a beer." Mears has also moved on, but, "You never forget getting hit," he said in an interview on Fox Sports 1 Monday.
NASCAR fined Ambrose and Mears $25,000 and $15,000, respectively, Tuesday. It is a penalty Ambrose fully accepts and will not appeal.
"I got myself in a bad situation," Ambrose said. "I caused an accident and NASCAR needed to reprimand, so I'm happy to pay it. I'm happy to move on. It's a heavy fine; it's the biggest fine I've ever received in racing. But I think NASCAR needed to do something."
As for the contradiction that NASCAR will fine drivers for fighting and then use the footage to promote the sport, Ambrose takes no issue.
"My NASCAR career may well be remembered by one of the best finishes of all time and one of the best fights of all time, too," Ambrose said, referring to his 2012 victory at Watkins Glen, which featured a memorable last-lap battle with Brad Keselowski. "It's OK. Our sport is made up of passion, and everyone has their own angle.
"Certainly, it's not a great thing to explain to your kids on Sunday what you did, and I'll take that penalty and the repercussions for my actions and pay it. And people can do whatever they want from there. It's not for me to call NASCAR out for taking advantage of a situation like that."