Keselowski gets penalized on restart (Update)

UPDATE

'Bad Brad' Keselowski

Brad Keselowski won't face punishment for labeling NASCAR "an entertainment sport and not a fair sport" after being black-flagged for a restart at New Hampshire. NASCAR senior vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell said the sanctioning body would try to talk Monday with Keselowski about its call but wouldn't penalize the Team Penske driver. "That's frustration," O'Donnell said during his weekly appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR's "The Morning Drive" program.

"I get that. There's a lot on the line. I don't think you'll see us do anything. I certainly disagree with the way Brad positioned it. It's a tough call. We'll talk to Brad today. I'm sure he still won't agree, but it's something we've got to do. It's open dialogue. We'll explain why we made the call from our standpoint and go on to Dover." NASCAR has fined drivers such as Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman (once secretly until changing its policy three years ago) for making disparaging comments.

Echoing NASCAR chairman Brian France's repeated stance, O'Donnell said criticism was within bounds as long as it avoided denigrating the quality of the competition. "Many times, the competitors aren't going to agree with those (calls), and that's OK," O'Donnell said. "We're going to let those go. If it goes too far, it's talking about the racing in general. That's where it goes a step too far, and we have to step in. We haven't seen any of that. In fact, we've seen the opposite from drivers. Frustration on a call is expected. This is the Chase. There's a lot going on. Drivers all want to win a championship. I'd be upset if Brad wasn't." NBC Sports

09/28/15 NASCAR drivers have said they wanted NASCAR to take a firm stance on restarts, and #2-Brad Keselowski found out Sunday just how closely NASCAR will rule on restarts in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Keselowski was penalized for jumping the restart as the second-place driver in the restart zone — even though he never gained a position — on Lap 242 of the 300-lap race. Having to make a pass-through down pit road at the pit-road speed of 45 mph, Keselowski fell back to 25th before rallying for a 12th-place finish Sunday in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "It's an entertainment sport, not a fair sport," Keselowski said.

"But we had a great car. … I got the chance to do something again for the first time — the first person to ever be penalized for jumping a restart when I didn't pass anyone, so that's a new one. But we moved on and we made the most of a good day."

Keselowski said he felt NASCAR was making an example out of him, but NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director Richard Buck said it was clear to NASCAR that Keselowski should be penalized. NASCAR, which started last week having a camera focused on the restart zone and having a senior official in the area to watch the drivers, viewed that Keselowski, in second, restarted in the zone prior to leader Greg Biffle. Buck said it didn't matter whether Keselowski actually completed a pass, he violated the rule that the leader has control of the race and the second-place driver can't restart by accelerating before the leader hits the gas. Buck said NASCAR used both the video and the official stationed at the restart zone to make the decision.

"The leader is the control car," Buck said. "The leader has earned the right to restart the race in the restart zone. … We're not out to get anybody, but we're the keeper of the rules and the enforcer of the rules. All anybody asks for in this garage area is to be treated fairly and we believe we did our job today."

Biffle appeared unaware what Keselowski was penalized for afterward and said he felt bad for him. "I don't think that he tried to jump it at all," said Keselowski team owner Roger Penske, who believed Keselowski's crossing the end of the restart zone ahead of Biffle is what forced NASCAR's hand. "I don't think that he tried to jump it at all. … We just have to deal with it and move on." ESPN.com http://espn.com/

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