SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Brad Keselowski said he wasn’t surprised at his probation given to him by NASCAR after the last-lap incident with Carl Edwards at last weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Raceway.
Keselowski and Edwards made contact in Turns 1 and 2, and then Edwards dumped Keselowski off Turn 4 coming to the checkered flag. Edwards kept the victory but was penalized 60 points and put on probation earlier this week.
Keselowski, too, was put on probation through the end of the year.
"I don’t know why … it didn’t seem to really bother me," Keselowski said Friday of the penalty. "There were some of my fans that got really upset about it. I did an autograph signing and they were pretty excited about it. I respect that. That’s been the coolest part is to listen to your fan base. To get the emails or phone calls from the fans, even your friends and family to support you makes it a lot easier to deal with.
"I wouldn’t say surprised (over probation). To me, what that says is NASCAR doesn’t want me to go out there and intentionally retaliate against Carl which is great. I don’t want to. I’m glad that they took that away. Now I don’t have to worry about that."
Keselowski maintains the initial contact in Turns 1 and 2 was unintentional, though he said he "can see why Carl would be upset."
"You have to remember, being in the car you don’t have the benefit of seeing it on TV," Keselowski said. "You only see what’s in front of you and all that he knew is that I made contact with him. I can see why he’d be upset. I’m sure he thought that I went down there and intentionally hit him.
"In fairness, if I was to reverse the situation and I was in Carl’s car, I would have done the best that I could to not have let him pass in 3 and 4, and if I did get passed, I would have turned it around to the next week or next opportunity. That’s just reversing the issues, but I’m not Carl."
Keselowski said there is no "fair penalty" for what Edwards did to him.
"The only thing that makes things fair is to go back in time and reverse it," Keselowski said. "I’m happy that NASCAR reacted because it’s crucial for the sport. I’m not going to sit out here and say, ‘I think Carl should have gotten this’. To be honest, I’m not focusing that much on him."
Keselowski says he has a short memory, which means he’s not going to intentionally pay back Edwards.
"I know that there are some people that are one for one, eye for eye," Keselowski said. "I think that if you look back through our history together, we’ve had run-ins but I don’t really label that at saying, ‘I’m two down, or two up.’ I think that it works its way out when you look through the garage, there’s always that one guy that has probably wrecked you than you have him. When you look back at your career it’s probably the opposite with someone else. I think it’s a little childish to keep a scorecard."
And if the two are racing each other at O’Reilly Raceway Park in the Nationwide race or at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Sprint Cup event, Keselowski said he won’t change the way he races.
"Hopefully we win," Keselowski said. "I’m just going to do what I normally do and that’s try and pass him the best way that I know how."