Nearly a week removed from a scuffle seen around the world, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski spoke about what happened. Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, Keselowski spoke to the media for the first time since NASCAR issued penalties to him and fellow driver Tony Stewart.
Last Saturday night on the cool down lap right after the checkered flag, Denny Hamlin showed his displeasure with Keselowski by brake checking him, slowing his Toyota down, as Keselowski’s Ford neared turn 3. Keselowski tried to retaliate by attempting to spin Hamlin. He failed and nearly spun out himself. As the cars made their way down pit road Matt Kenseth, who was parked and removing his safety equipment inside his Toyota, was hit hard by Keselowski’s Ford.
The contact also involved Tony Stewart. Stewart then angrily backed his Chevy into Keselowski’s Ford. As Keselowski slowly drove his now front end damaged Ford to his hauler, he cut through a garage stall leaving tire marks from a burnout and scattering equipment, and people.
A few moments later, Hamlin and Keselowski, now out of the cars, confronted each other. Both were restrained and pulled apart. Then as Keselowski walked between haulers, Kenseth suddenly ran up and grabbed him putting Keselowski in a bear hug that and shouting obscenities. The two were pulled apart after a few moments and both went their separate ways. NASCAR assessed what it called “behavioral penalties” Tuesday to Keselowski and Stewart. Keselowski was fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events through Nov. 12. Stewart was $25,000 and was also placed on NASCAR probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events through Nov. 12.
Friday Keselowski said this past week he was busy with testing. As for regrets:
“I am not really ready to get into that side of it,” he said. “I haven’t put a lot of thought into it to be honest. I have been busy testing Martinsville and getting ready for this weekend. It is a huge weekend for me and our team where we have to really pull out a clutch moment and I don’t want to lose sight of that by spending a whole bunch of time on all that other garbage. I am not going to say I haven’t spent any time on it but I didn’t spend enough to really have all my thoughts and feelings put together enough to share it with you guys.”
The driver who grabbed Keselowski said Friday that he has no regrets . Matt Kenseth also made his first comments Friday.
“None of it — you never want to get into confrontations, at least I don’t,” Kenseth said. “I like to avoid them. I’m definitely not built for fighting and it’s not really in my genes — not something I ever really want to do, but I guess everybody has their breaking point.”
He added that he was already mad at Keselowski for an on track incident. The contact after the race was the breaking point.
“Last week was bad enough. To run bad all night and to be frustrated and then get two tires and get towards the front and Brad (Keselowski) clearly saw me roll outside of him and he hung a right on purpose and ran me right into the wall and ruined my night and possibly took us out of Chase contention,” Kenseth said. “So, I was mad enough about that and then to come down afterwards and have your stuff off and your net down and come and pull those high school stunts playing car wars after the race was just absolutely unacceptable. That definitely put me over the edge. I don’t regret my actions. I’m not proud of them or happy about them or any of that, but I don’t regret them. I don’t know that I would do anything different if the same thing went down again.”
Keselowski later said that he didn’t agree with Kenseth’s take on things.
“He is always entitled to his opinion as I am to mine,” Keselowski said. “We are both entitled to your opinions. Obviously we have a difference of them or what happened Saturday wouldn’t have happened.”