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Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart fined after Charlotte

Jenna Fryer Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – NASCAR fined Brad Keselowski $50,000 and Tony Stewart $25,000 on Tuesday for their roles in the fracas at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the weekend.

Both drivers also were placed on probation, with NASCAR saying the penalties “are about maintaining a safe environment following the race.” Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin were not penalized for their roles in the skirmishes after Saturday night’s race.

“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,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president of competition and racing development. “However, the safety of our drivers, crew members, officials, and workers is paramount and we will react when that safety could be compromised.”

The sequence of events began on the cool-down lap when Hamlin admittedly brake-checked Keselowski to show his displeasure with how Keselowski raced him over the final two laps. Keselowski then tried, but failed, to spin Hamlin.

He then hit Kenseth’s car as they traveled toward pit road, Keselowski said, for Kenseth driving across the front of his car under caution with six laps left. Keselowski inadvertently ran into the back of Stewart’s car as the field headed toward pit road. Stewart responded by backing his car up into Keselowski’s car.

Keselowski then drove around several stopped cars and into the garage, with Hamlin following in his car. The two drivers cut through an empty garage stall before coming to a stop, and Hamlin had to be restrained from confronting Keselowski.

As Keselowski walked between two team haulers, Kenseth rushed in from behind and jumped him. Crew members quickly peeled Kenseth away, and he made it clear he was upset Keselowski hit him while his seatbelts were off and his window net down. Keselowski could be heard on video yelling: “You hit me under yellow!”

Hamlin, Kenseth and Keselowski are competing for the Sprint Cup championship, and poor finishes Saturday night have Kenseth and Keselowski on the brink of elimination.

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