Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart have each been fined and put on probation for the next four Sprint Cup races after playing roles in a series of post-race incidents following Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Keselowski has been fined $50,000, while Stewart has been fined a lesser amount of $25,000.
Escaping penalties of any kind were Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin, who were both also heavily involved in the Charlotte incidents.
“These penalties are about maintaining a safe environment following the race,” NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton said in a statement. “We knew that the new Chase format was likely going to raise the intensity level and we want our drivers to continue to be themselves.
“However, the safety of our drivers, crew members, officials, and workers is paramount and we will react when that safety could be compromised.”
Officially, Keselowski and Stewart both violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4.9 (Behavioral penalty – involved in a post-race incident) of the 2014 NASCAR rule book.
Their probation periods will end on November 12 – four days before the 2014 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
With the decision made by the sanctioning body, Chase contenders Keselowski, Kenseth, and Hamlin have managed to avoid being docked of championship points.
Hamlin remains seventh on the Chase Grid at 17 points ahead of the Eliminator Round cutoff. Kenseth stays ninth at one point behind the cutoff, and Keselowski is still 10th at 19 points behind.
This weekend’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will determine the final group of eight drivers for the Eliminator Round. Joey Logano (Kansas) and Kevin Harvick (Charlotte) have already advanced there via wins in the Contender Round.
At the conclusion of Saturday’s event, Hamlin and Keselowski expressed their displeasure with each other after hard racing during the final two laps.
Hamlin admitted to brake-checking Keselowski on the cool-down lap, which led the latter to unsuccessfully try and spin Hamlin out in Turn 3.
The scene then shifted to the entrance of pit road, where Keselowski hit both Kenseth and Stewart. Stewart promptly backed his car into Keselowski’s own.
Keselowski, now with severe front-end damage on his car, then drove into the garage area with Hamlin closely following him. The 2012 Cup champion did a burnout to get away from Hamlin before parking in front of his Team Penske hauler.
Hamlin climbed out of his car but was immediately intercepted by members of his team that kept him from moving toward Keselowski. After Keselowski walked away to his hauler, Kenseth then ran up and attacked him from behind, beginning a skirmish between their respective crews.