Get the latest Denny Hamlin news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Get the latest Denny Hamlin news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Get the latest Denny Hamlin news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Scuffle takes place crammed between haulers RELATED: Full results " Updated standings CONCORD, N.C. -- The new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format was supposed to add drama to the playoffs. And boy, did it ever. The finish of the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , which saw Kevin Harvick lock up his spot in the Eliminator Round, was wild indeed with tensions overflowing and 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski in the middle of it all. Keselowski clipped Denny Hamlin 's rear bumper on the cool-down lap after the race, later hitting Matt Kenseth 's car after Kenseth had removed his seat belt. Tony Stewart was also caught up in the round of bumper cars, causing the No. 14 driver to retaliate by backing his car into the No. 2, crumpling its front. Hamlin was fired up in the garage and was shouting at Keselowski, with crew members from both teams also getting into it. After cooling down in his hauler, Hamlin attempted to explain his side of things. "I was going in Turn 1 and there's a corner there, so you have to back off and he just plowed into us. He's just out of control; he's desperate, obviously. It's either four or five of us are wrong or he's wrong because he's pissed off everyone. Just disappointing. "That was unfortunate, and Matt was nearly out of his car and (Keselowski) just plowed into Matt, and then ran into Tony and then he went in through the garage and cleared out transmissions and did burnouts in the garage and just acting like a dumb (expletive) instead of a champion." Things were even more testy between Keselowski and Kenseth. The mild-mannered Kenseth took off after Keselowski as he was walking in between haulers, and things got physical between the two former champions, with both Keselowski and Kenseth and their crews shouting back and forth. "Besides the race, he (Keselowski) knew I was out there and on that restart wrecked me," Kenseth said. "I guess I shouldn't have went out there. Really the safety -- he was doing something with Denny there, and I don't know if he was mad at him. I had my HANS off and my seat belt's off and he clobbers me at like 50 (mph). With the accidents and stuff that we've had around here -- the race is over and we're trying to come back to pit road. If he wants to come and talk about it like a man, then go do that -- but to try and wreck somebody on the racetrack and to come down pit road with other cars and people standing around with seatbelts off and drive into the side of me is just inexcusable. There is no excuse for that. He's a champion and he's supposed to know better than that." Jeff Gordon and Harvick both said the fact that Kenseth was that fired up and angry spoke volumes. "When you see Matt Kenseth want to fight, you know it's intense," Harvick said, adding that Kenseth's reaction shows "NASCAR has done the right thing with this format." Gordon was a little more reserved in his comments, but added, "Obviously, there was some built up animosity towards Brad. I better hold the rest of my thoughts back." Kenseth and Keselowski have a history together, one that showed up earlier in the race when Kenseth clipped Keselowski on a Lap 272 restart. That resulting contact hindered Keselowski, but really hurt Kenseth, who dropped from fourth to 18th in a matter of laps. Kenseth was also critical of Keselowski's driving at Talladega in May, when the Team Penske driver was six laps down and sparked the "Big One," a 14-car crash. What angered Keselowski on this night was what he said Kenseth did right before the final restart on Lap 333. "When he came by he swung at my car and tore the whole right-front off of it," Keselowski said. "When we restarted fifth with no right-front on it, we fell all the way back to 16th and it ruined our day. That gave us a big Chase hurt, which is unfortunate, and then for some reason after the race the 11 stopped in front of me and tried to pick a fight, so I don't know what's up with that. And he swung and hit my car and I figured if we are going to play car wars, I'll join too. You know those guys can dish it out but they can't take it. And I give it back to them and now they want to fight." As for the contact with Stewart, Keselowski said, "I don't think Tony knew what was going on. He is upset and he has every right to be. His car was tore up. There was a whole lot of other stuff going on, I'm sure when he sees the whole situation, he will understand." NASCAR is reviewing the incidents that took place at the end of the race and immediately after. NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said that Keselowski was asked to come in to give his take of what happened. A crew member of the No. 20, mechanic Jesse Sanders, and Kenseth's crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, also came in. "As always, we will look at everything, we'll continue to gather the facts, the tapes and the video and things of that nature," Pemberton said. "Talk to some other people that were around, and we'll work on that and we'll come up with something by Tuesday or something, like we normally do." Of the drivers involved in the post-race drama, Hamlin is sitting in the best shape with a ninth-place finish, putting him seventh in the standings and in position to advance to the Eliminator Round. Kenseth, who finished 19th, had a rough night altogether after having to start at the back for an unapproved adjustment. He is currently in ninth place, just one point outside of the eighth and final position to make it into the next round of the Chase. Keselowski is in 10th place in the standings following a 16th-place finish at Charlotte, where he was the defending victor and in the top 10 for much of the night. He almost definitely needs a win in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) to advance to the Eliminator Round. Hamlin , for one, expects more shenanigans as the No. 2 driver tries to get there. "My guess is he will probably try to wreck everyone. It's his only shot. So, he'll just be out of control like normal," the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. "We'll do what we have to do to get in and that's big picture. Luckily, it didn't cause us to wreck. If it would have caused us to wreck, I'd be waiting for him right now." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Denny Hamlin showcases his frustrations with Brad Keselowski and Paul Wolfe reacts to the post-race altercation.
Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin make contact during cool down laps after the checkered flag falls on the Bank of America 500.
Go All Access as one camera caught all of the post-race garage fireworks between Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin , and then Matt Kenseth and Keselowski after the Bank of America 500.
Brad Keselowski explains what happened tonight on and off track with Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth after the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
2003 champion says everyone has breaking point MORE: Keselowski responds " Full timeline of events in Kenseth-Keselowski dust up RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Everyone has his or her "breaking point," Matt Kenseth said, and the Joe Gibbs Racing driver reached his following contact from Brad Keselowski during and after Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Kenseth pursued the Team Penske driver moments after the completion of the Bank of America 500 , grabbing Keselowski before crewmen from both teams, along with officials, rushed in to separate the two drivers. "Last week it was bad enough to run bad all night and to be frustrated; then get two tires and get toward the front (near the end of the race) -- Brad clearly saw me roll outside of him and he hung a right on purpose and he ran me right into the wall, ruined my night and possibly took us out of Chase contention," Kenseth said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway . "So I was mad enough about that. To come down afterward and have your (safety equipment) off and your net down and come and pull those high school stunts … after the race is just absolutely unacceptable. "That definitely put me over the edge. I don't regret my actions; I'm not proud of them or happy about them or anything like that. … But I don't regret them. I don't know that I'd do anything different if the same thing would have gone down again." Keselowski moved up the track during a late-race restart, thwarting Kenseth's momentum and resulting in contact with the wall. Later, with six laps remaining, Kenseth was one of several drivers to take the wave around to get back on the lead lap without pitting. At that time, he said Friday, he did "swerve" at Keselowski "because I was mad he put me in the wall and totally ruined my day." Keselowski said after the race that Kenseth "came back and swung at my car and tore the front of the car off." Kenseth said the 2012 champion "is greatly exaggerating." "If you watch video you can see he had no marks on his right front of his car after that," Kenseth said. "He said it tore his whole right front off. … That was just him greatly exaggerating the story." As the field began to make its way to pit road, Keselowski attempted to spin Denny Hamlin (JGR), then struck the side of Kenseth's car as they came onto pit road. Keselowski ran into the back of Tony Stewart after hitting Kenseth. Stewart reacted by putting his car in reverse and backing into Keselowski, crumpling the front end of the No. 2 Ford. Hamlin attempted to confront Keselowski in the garage area, but all parties had gone their separate ways when Kenseth went after the Team Penske driver. "I just wanted to get to him, I guess," Kenseth said. "Not sure what I wanted to do when I got there. It was obvious I didn't really have a plan, right? "You never want to get into confrontations, at least I don't. I like to avoid them. I'm definitely not built for fighting; it's not really in my genes, it's not something I ever really want to do." NASCAR fined Keselowski ($50,000) and Stewart ($25,000) for their actions and placed both drivers on probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. The sanctioning body did not penalize Kenseth or Hamlin . Three of the four -- Kenseth, Keselowski and Hamlin -- are among 10 drivers vying for one of eight spots in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Two spots have already been determined, with wins by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick automatically advancing those two drivers. Hamlin enters Sunday's GEICO 500 (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET) seventh in points; Kenseth and Keselowski are two of four drivers currently outside the top eight, along with six-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . "I was probably more upset about getting (run) into the wall than I would have maybe been on week two of the season," Kenseth said. "There's probably a little bit (of frustration) there and some of that is frustration from the season of not running to our potential and being taken out of the Chase." Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, won seven races with JGR last year in his first season with the organization, but is winless thus far this year. "The stuff afterward of getting hit after the race, my reaction to that was besides taking my stuff off and thinking it's ridiculous to get hurt after a race is over by somebody acting like a little kid using a car for a weapon," he said. "I thought that was ridiculous, but that's the second time he's done that this year just to me. After the Richmond race he came and wiped us out down in Turn 2 and then came down pit road and took another slug at me and knocked the side off our car. "Besides people having to pay for (the cars) and work on them and all that stuff, it's just not acceptable. After that happening again was probably most of my reaction." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford fails to make GEICO 500 field MORE: Sunday's starting lineup RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Changes to NASCAR's qualifying format for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway produced a number of surprises, not the least of which was the failure of Ricky Stenhouse Jr . to earn a starting berth in the 43-car field. The Roush Fenway Racing driver was one of three that failed to earn a starting position based on his qualifying speed -- Justin Allgaier and Reed Sorenson also failed to post times fast enough to crack the top 36 here Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway . Sorenson ( Tommy Baldwin Racing ), 36th fastest in the opening round, was eventually added to the lineup after Joe Nemechek 's No. 29 Toyota failed post-qualifying inspection. "I didn't consider the fact that our position in points would leave us in jeopardy," Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush said afterward. "That was a blind side on my part. It's unfortunate we weren't in a better place in points, and that we had as many good cars as we did that didn't qualify based on time. It's just unbelievable that we didn't get on the race track in time to get a lap there." Stenhouse has made 72 starts in Sprint Cup competition, including 67 in a row since moving up to the series full time a year ago. He made five starts between 2011-12 while winning back-to-back championships in NASCAR's Nationwide Series . His team's DNQ was the result of several things, from Saturday's slow qualifying speed to his team's position in the owner points standings. During the first round, Stenhouse posted a speed of 176.947 mph, just 43rd overall for the round. While unfortunate, under normal circumstances, he would have been one of several slotted into the field in one of the seven remaining positions available based on owner points. But because seven drivers higher in owner points failed to crack the top 36 (Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch , Kyle Larson and Jeff Gordon ), Stenhouse Jr. wasn't able to secure one of those starting spots. NASCAR determines its 43-car lineup based on the following: positions 1-36 are awarded based solely on lap times. Positions 37-43 are awarded based on a team's rank in the owner standings, and assigned positions based on their lap times. (If a former champion fails to post a speed in the top 36, he may be assigned the 43rd position, if his team isn't high enough in the owners' points standings to receive one of those berths.) NASCAR made changes to the qualifying format for Talladega, with teams split into two groups for the first round, and limiting the time of the round to five minutes. The latter change meant teams would likely get one opportunity to post a qualifying run with no time to return to pit road, allow their cars to cool and return to the track should it be necessary. Stenhouse was last in line in a group of cars that included Gordon and Harvick making their qualifying laps in the first round. But when Gordon slowed (to create a gap between his group and another group ahead of the pack), it slowed those behind him. Because they didn't get back to the start/finish line in time, they were unable to post another lap. "I thought being the last car in line would be beneficial for us," Stenhouse said. "We had Jeff Gordon leading the pack there; I thought we would have a good shot at putting a good lap in, but my spotter was telling me '‘hey, you have 30 seconds to get across the start/finish line' as we were entering Turn 3. "I don't guess the 24’s (spotter) was giving him a lot of information. He kept slowing the pack down and we didn't get a good lap and never got across the start/finish line in time. "My spotter was giving me the information I needed and I wish the 24 would have been doing the same." Stenhouse later tweeted the following: All I got tough day pic.twitter.com/4KWEFvpmQ9 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) October 18, 2014 Gordon said the qualifying plan "was shot before the plan started." "I messed up ultimately," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "I just mistimed getting to the line. The whole group was going so slow I knew I had to have a gap and when I came across the line I thought I had enough (time) to be able to complete that lap and get one more, which was the only way we were going to make it. "But we came up short. It's a mess out there. It's not easy." It was the second time this season a driver from the RFR stable failed to qualify for a Sprint Cup race. A week ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway , Nationwide Series regular Trevor Bayne was unable to qualify for the Bank of America 500 in a fourth RFR entry fielded just for that race. Roush, whose organization also fields Sprint Cup entries for drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards , didn't blame the qualifying format for the setback. "We just didn't get on the race track fast enough and I'm not sure who actually made that call. I'm not sure if it was left up to Ricky or the spotter or (crew chief) Mike Kelley," Roush said. "It's my responsibility to make sure we execute our program so we have a chance to qualify. We clearly didn't do it here and that's an oversight." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation