Charlotte brawl: At what point does it cross a line?

We saw four drivers involved in one big post-race confrontation at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

For those who still aren't aware, the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte ended with Kevin Harvick capturing the checkered flag, ahead of Jeff Gordon. As he celebrated the win on the track's front stretch, chaos erupted in the pit lane.

What happened?

An infuriated Brad Keselowski unleashed his anger and frustration on Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, and unintentionally, Tony Stewart. All three wanted a piece of him after Brad decided to play bumper cars on what is ironically known as the 'cool-down lap.' Here is a video of the bedlam that ensued for those who haven't seen it yet...

Fight, but leave the cars out of it

This kind of raw, uncensored emotion is something most NASCAR fans crave in an era where sponsors want their drivers polished to be the perfect representatives and ambassadors for their brand. I won't hide it, I quite enjoyed the post-race madness. What I don't like is when the cool-down lap is turned into a demolition derby. By all means, brawl, swear, and throw stuff until your heart's content but let's leave the 3,400lb, 850hp machines out of it, okay?

New video

A new video has emerged showing the duo of Hamlin and Keselowski actually screwing around with their cars in the garage itself, with crew members standing around. Brad ends up tearing out of the garage and Hamlin follows, leaving skid marks in their wake.

 

Stewart's involvement

Tony Stewart joined in on the fun when he got swept up in this game of bumper cars by mistake. He responded by throwing his car into reverse and ramming Keselowski. Considering that he had absolutely no clue why he just got run into, I can see why he'd respond in such a way. Also, I think anyone trying to twist his involvement into something more than what it was needs to re-watch the video. I found it interesting that in a post-race interview however, a confused Keselowski thought that it was Kenseth who hit Stewart, not him.

What had Matt so uncharastically fired up?

One thing that shocked everyone was the actions of Matt Kenseth. He is one of the calmer drivers in the field, but we quickly learned what had him so enraged.

"If he wants to come and talk about it like a man then go do that, but to try to wreck somebody on the race track and to come down pit road with other cars and people standing around with my seat belts off and drive into the side of me is just inexcusable," the 2003 series champion said. " There is no excuse for that."

NASCAR needs to make example of Brad, but they can't be too harsh

Because of that fact, NASCAR has to take a stand and show that this kind of retaliation is never okay. I'm always very hesitant when it comes to penalizing drivers for being passionate (however misguided that passion may be), but Keselowski needs to be reprimanded in this particular situation. 

Mind you, he didn't know Matt's belts were off and he wouldn't have touched him if he did, but the fact is that it still happened. The powers that be shouldn't bring down wrath on the driver of the No. 2, but they do need to make an example of him.

They made an example of Kyle Busch in 2011, showing that speeding up under caution and crashing fellow competitors is not allowable. They need to do that once again here. No, don't park Brad. He's in the midst of the Chase battle and this skirmish shouldn't affect the outcome of this round.

You heard my take, now what's yours?

A fine? A press conference drawing a line in the sand? I don't know, that's a decision for the suits in Daytona Beach. I'm just the guy who likes to talk about it. What your opinion? Should NASCAR punish any or all of the parties involved?

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Charlotte II
Sub-event Saturday post-race
Track Charlotte Motor Speedway
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Article type Commentary