Keselowski, Stewart fined and put on probation after Charlotte post-race incidents (VIDEO)

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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.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III