This weekend we had another brawl, and now fans and teams alike, await NASCAR's decisions or announcements on the situation. If you missed it, well, you missed one of the bigger brawls that I can remember, in a long time, in NASCAR.
During the final laps of the AAA 500, on a restart where Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon led the charge back to the green flag, Brad Keselowski hovered in third, and waited. A moment came when Jeff Gordon went a bit high and a hole opened up for Brad to take advantage of, but Jeff started to correct his slight and close the gap back up. But Brad was there, stealing the space from Jeff, and in the process, Brad cut Jeff's tire down as they exchanged paint.
When the race ended, Jeff pulled up alongside Brad On Pit Row, and got out of his car to go talk to Brad. But one thing led to another and suddenly we had a huge melee in a pit stall.
The funny part about this 10, 15 or 20 person brawl, was the move made by Kevin Harvick. Wait... who? What? Where did he come from?
In one camera angle all you see is Jeff Gordon getting an opportunity to reach out and grab Brad Keselowski and suddenly the crowd erupting into a melee of offensive or defensive moves. Moves which ended up with both Brad and Jeff with bloody lips and swollen noses.
But then ESPN caught the brawl from a different angle, one where Kevin Harvick steps up, gives Brad a push in towards the crowd, then all the havoc breaks out. All while Harvick steps back.
Didn't Harvick mention something about retribution on Brad last week? So rather than wrecking him on the track, he pushes him into the tiger den!
Regardless, this was one of those things, again, in NASCAR. And some fans don't seem to mind what happened, considering how often Brad seems to be in the middle of these things these days. He seems to drive with no remorse, no thought of next week, and yet, seems to skirt the actual fracas.
And to be honest, he's hard to like, unless you like the only driver who drives as hard as he does. When he's mouthing off, he makes sense, but when you watch him drive, there is a reason people publicly call him a dip-shit or self-centered or over-aggressive, amongst the nicer terms used for this kid. He does not drive politely. What Brad calls it, is "hired to win races."
Regardless of whether you like his style or not, something new happened this last weekend.
Forget the cars chasing each other through the garage and being ignored by NASCAR that other weekend at Charlotte. That's all fine and what not. No one was hurt, though many believe NASCAR should have taken a stronger stance on the Denny Hamlin garage chase to make sure it did not happen again.
No, what happened last night was that rather than the mere act of grabbing, pushing and shoving, punches were landed and team members came up bloody. (Well, except for Kevin!)
And with punches landed, NASCAR may, MAY I say, take a stance. Though they can sometimes be inconsistent in how they say and how they do, so I do not want to take a stand, one way or the other on this situation... because it involves Chase drivers.
But Brad is under probation by NASCAR from his incident with Tony Stewart back in Charlotte. Now we see how NASCAR dances their way out from under chastising a Chase contender who has not been eliminated yet.
Even with Brad saying he won't back down and apologize, his racing style or racing aggressiveness has sparked quite the media blitz.
And we have Phoenix coming up??? Not only that, but we have a very tight contest for those top-four spots that might survive the Eliminator round.
Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin are tied for first... Ryan Newman is two points out, but then Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick are 12 to 18 points behind the leader.
It's going to be a pretty crazy elimination round at Phoenix because everyone is just a few points apart from each other.
And NASCAR must be feeling pretty proud of themselves that their new system has suddenly made the upcoming Phoenix race as important as the final race of the season over at Homestead.
If NASCAR penalizes Brad, he is going to be even more hell-bent to win than Carl Edwards was those few years back when he was dumping Brad every chance he could get. (Hmm, suddenly it all makes sense!)
But that was then and this is now, where most of the field now wants to dump Brad. Regardless, Regardless, lets strap in and watch what happens at Phoenix, because believe me, every move made around or by Brad, is going to be scrutinized by every pair of eyes on that race next Sunday.
Credit: 302721Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway