RICHMOND, Va. – NASCAR feuds between teammates has been a common topic lately, with Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon trading paint and barbs in the Sprint Cup Series. Has that transferred to Penske Racing’s Nationwide Series drivers?
During Friday night’s Bubba Burger 250 at Richmond International Raceway, Penske’s Brad Keselowski and Justin Allgaier raced each other hard at the front of the field. Allgaier made a daring move to the inside on one restart, leading Keselowski to criticize his teammate over the radio.
"Yeah, somebody has got to have a brain on this damn team," Keselowski said.
Allgaier later slipped on a restart on old tires and dropped back to 15th at the checkered flag. And while he was unhappy with the result, Allgaier was also clearly not pleased with his teammate.
"I’m sure when he came down on us and came across the nose on a restart, it probably aggravated him a little bit because we got a run on the inside," Allgaier said. "But we had been doing it every restart before that, and he knew it was coming. Just a shame he didn’t show any room, no courtesy there. It would’ve helped us lead a lap, and he knows that. What do you do?"
Keselowski and team owner Roger Penske went out of their way to dispel any controversy inside the team, saying that when you race toward the front against anyone on a consistent basis, cars will get together. Keselowski and Allgaier did spend at least 75 laps running first and second.
"From my end, we were all trying really hard and we both had fast race cars," Keselowski said after winning the race. "This is something I talked about with Carl (Edwards) when we had our run-ins there (in the Sprint Cup Series), the odds of running into each other are higher when you both have good race cars and you run around each other.
"All teammates go through that, a growing period. I’m sure we’ll all figure that out."
"As Brad said, when you’re side-by-side or behind each other and both going for it, you’ve got to be careful," Penske said. "That’s when you’ve got to look at the big picture. … I think both guys raced hard. Justin had a good car. We’re going to move on to the next race. We don’t have any issues that we can’t deal with."
But there indeed may be some issues.
"We’ve had a great season so far together," Allgaier said. "I guess when you get beat on a restart, it kind of gets you aggravated when you’re leading the race."