NASCAR notebook: Harvick OK with Keselowski's driving, as long as he's willing to fight

NASCAR to review the brawl; good save for Logano.

Kevin Harvick says he has no problem with the way Brad Keselowski races, as long as Keselowski is willing to back it up outside the car.

In fact, Harvick gave Keselowski a shove toward a melee developing with Jeff Gordon after Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, after Keselowski’s aggressive driving on a late restart cut Gordon’s left rear tire and dropped the four-time premier series champion from a chance for victory to a 29th-place finish.

“I didn’t get in the middle of anything,” Harvick said of the shove. “I just turned him around and told him to go fight his own fight.”

Gordon, Keselowski and their crewmen brawled on pit road after the race, leaving both drivers the worse for the wear, wiping specs of blood from their faces.

Harvick said the fisticuffs were a predictable result of Keselowski’s aggressiveness on the restart.

“I think he’s just racing as hard as he can for his team,” Harvick said. “He’s trying to get all he can. But when it gets down to that type of racing, those things are going to happen, exactly like they happened after the race tonight.

“But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, as long as you’re ready to roll… If you’re going to race like that, you’re going to have to man up at some point. I mean, he’s done it several times. Can’t just turn around and let everybody fight all the time without you in there—have to stand up for your actions at some point yourself.”

NASCAR to review the riot

NASCAR will study film of the post-race fight involving Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and a host of crew members, but according to Robin Pemberton, the sanctioning body’s senior vice president of competition and racing development, NASCAR has no issue with the incident that caused it.

“I think it was hard racing, and this is a contact sport,” Pemberton said of Keselowski’s up-the-middle attempt pass on the next-to-last restart, a move that left Gordon with a cut tire and diminished championship chances.

“You look at what drivers are trying to do. We had a couple shots at a green-white-checkered finish, and everybody was going for it. Nobody was leaving anything behind.”

The brawl itself is a different story. NASCAR will review the incident in its entirety and decide if penalties are warranted. Keselowski already is on probation from post-race actions three weeks ago at Charlotte.

“We knew the (new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) format was going to put a lot of pressure on people to perform and make aggressive moves and decisions out there on the race track,” Pemberton said. “You could see the result of that after the race.

“We’re going to take our time. We’ve got a lot of film to review and things like that. The important thing is to make the right decision at the end of the day.”

Pemberton says NASCAR draws the line when drivers and crew members come to blows.

"You shouldn’t punch somebody,” he said. “Everybody gets together, and when you’re holding onto each other and grabbing and this, that and the other, that’s one thing. When punches are landed, that’s a different scenario... We have a lot of work to do this week.”

Great comeback for Logano

Joey Logano’s entire Chase could have come unglued—literally.

During a race that saw rapid-fire cautions from the midpoint on, NASCAR allowed teams to get extra sets of tires from Goodyear for the late stages of the 500-mile event.

Only one problem. In Logano’s case, the glue that holds the lug nuts in place for the tire changer didn’t have a chance to set, and during a late pit stop, three lugs fell off, dropping Logano to the back of the field.

To make matters worse, as Logano tried to recover, contact from Marcos Ambrose’s Ford sent him spinning, causing the ninth caution of the race on Lap 309 of a scheduled 334. Logano restarted 26th, but a subsequent yellow on Lap 314 gave him a chance to recover significant track position by foregoing a pit stop.

Logano restarted seventh on Lap 318 and held 12th at the finish, salvaging a share of the Chase lead with one race left in the Eliminator Round.

“I don’t know what happened with the glue on the pit stop, and I haven’t gotten the full story yet, but we had a hell of a time trying to put rear tires on the car,” Logano said. “We lost all our track position with 30 (laps) to go, and I came off the corner and the 9 (Ambrose) hit me and popped my right rear (tire), and then we spun out.

“We put tires back on it and then just held on till the end and got something decent out of something that could have been way worse. I’m proud of everyone that kept their heads down and kept digging. That isn’t the way we wanted to do it, that is for sure…

“We put ourselves in a bad spot and got in an even worse spot and then dug ourselves halfway out of a hole there.”

NASCAR Wire Service, Reid Spencer

 

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Texas II
Track Texas Motor Speedway
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Marcos Ambrose , Brad Keselowski , Joey Logano
Article type Race report
Tags eliminator round, texas motor speedway