FORT WORTH, Texas — Brad Keselowski’s face was puffy, and he took a couple quick drinks of water to wash the blood from his mouth.
So close to a big NASCAR playoff win, Jeff Gordon was left with a cut on his lip.
The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship took another intense turn Sunday night when Gordon and Keselowski were part of a brawl after Jimmie Johnson won his third consecutive Texas fall race.
Johnson emerged from a frantic finish, the second attempt at an overtime two-lap sprint to the finish after his teammate, Gordon, spun out from the front after contact with Keselowski.
An irate Gordon stopped his car right by Keselowski and confronted him. Plenty of punches were thrown in the melee, with NASCAR officials in the middle of crew members and others around Keselowski’s No. 2 car.
Gordon was leading on a restart on lap 335, one more than the race’s scheduled length, when he took the outside lane. When Gordon drifted up a bit, Keselowski pushed through the gap and made contact that left Gordon’s car with a cut tire.
“We were just racing for the win,” said Keselowski, who appeared to be spitting blood after the post-race brawl. “I didn’t wreck him and just raced him hard. He left a hole. Everything you watch in racing, you leave a hole, you’re supposed to go for it. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day. I wanted to win the race, and that was the opportunity. It just didn’t come together.”
Gordon said he was on older tires when “out of nowhere I got slammed by the 2.” He then used an expletive in referring to Keselowski, who finished third.
“The way he races, I don’t know how he ever won a championship,” Gordon said of Keselowski, who claimed the 2012 Sprint Cup Series title. “This is why everyone is fighting with him. There wasn’t any conversation. You can’t have a conversation with him. There’s big consequences. To me, it’s just a bunch of crap. The kid is just doing stuff way over his head.”
Gordon spun out, lost a lap in the pits and finished 29th.
It was the second time in the last four races that another driver confronted Keselowski after the checkered flag.
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