Report: NASCAR’s Pemberton calls Gordon-Keselowski tangle ‘over the line,’ penalties to those involved likely

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NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and other sanctioning body officials are likely going to be looking at more film over the next day or two than most NFL coaches.

And when Pemberton and Co. finish their review, it’s likely there are going to be penalties stemming from the post-race brawl between Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski and a multitude of others from both drivers’ respective teams.

“We knew the format was going to put a lot of pressure on people to perform and make aggressive moves and decisions out there on the racetrack,” Pemberton told reporters outside the NASCAR hauler after Sundays race. “You could see the result of that after the race.”

As for reviewing film from both during and after the race, Pemberton added, “We’re going to take our time. We have 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. … You have to look at everything out there post-race.”

Click here for Pemberton’s post-race session with the media.

Interestingly, Pemberton acknowledged that “It was hard racing. This is a contact sport. If you look at what drivers are trying to do, we had a couple shots at a green-white-checker finish and everybody was going for it. Nobody was leaving anything behind.”

But then Pemberton told The Charlotte Observer that the tangle was “over the line” and that penalties will be coming either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Keselowski is still on probation from the confrontations he had with Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick at Charlotte three weeks ago.

One of the most interesting parts of the Observer’s story is that those involved in the brawl may not necessarily have been from Gordon’s or Keselowski’s teams.

Hence the film review by Pemberton and others. They want to see if they identify those that were involved in the fight, who threw punches (likely including those who struck both Gordon and Keselowski).

It should be interesting if NASCAR takes action against Gordon in particular. Two years ago in the Chase race at Phoenix, Gordon and his crew got into it with Clint Bowyer and his team on pit road after the race. Gordon was subsequently fined $100,000 and docked 25 championship points by NASCAR for both intentionally wrecking Bowyer on the track and then being part of the post-race fight.

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.