It was not the kind of attention Brad Keselowski likely was hoping for in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.
To stave off elimination from the Chase next week at Talladega, Ala., Keselowski needed a win or at least a strong finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Instead, he ended up being the focus of angry confrontations with fellow drivers Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth following the race’s conclusion.
Keselowski and Kenseth made contact on a late restart and Keselowski said Kenseth retaliated on the last caution.
“He got the wave around and when he came by, he swung by my car and tore the whole right front off it,” Keselowski said. “For some reason after the race, (Hamlin) stopped in front of me and tried to pick a fight. He swung and hit at my car.
“I figure if we’re going to play car wars under yellow and after the race, I’m going to play, too.”
Hamlin said Keselowski was “out of control” and “desperate.”
“Just disappointing, but we’re trying to get in this deal (Round 3 of the Chase),” he said. “We’re sitting in a decent spot but we’ve lost six spots or so on the last restart when he ran into us and knocked us up the track.”
Kenseth went after Keselowski, grabbing him in a headlock between haulers in the garage area before the two were separated.
“I had my HANS off and my seat belts off and everything,” Kenseth said. Keselowski “clobbered me at 50 (mph). If you want to talk about it as a man, try to do that, but to try and wreck someone on the race track, come down pit road with other cars and people standing around with seat belts off and drive in the side of me.
“It’s inexcusable. He is a champion. He is supposed to know better than that.”
Keselowski and Jesse Sanders, a member of Kenseth’s crew who was involved in the fight, were both called to the NASCAR hauler after the race. Any penalties will be announced early this week.