Why Brad Keselowski Wasn't Penalized at Daytona For Running Circles Under Red

alex bowman's nascar onboard
Why Keselowski Was Allowed to Run During Red FlagAlex Bowman's NASCAR Onboard

In a car race of just about any variety, a red flag typically means that everyone on track must stop. Brad Keselowski broke that very basic rule when he ran a few "laps" of the infield to disperse smoke from an unseen fire during Saturday night's NASCAR race at Daytona, but the series chose not to penalize him. Today, NASCAR SVP of Competition Elton Sawyer explained the choice on a radio broadcast.

In a snippet of an interview with Sirius XM shared on Twitter, Sawyer noted that the series pace car driver saw the smoke pouring from the No. 6 Ford that Keselowski had mentioned before the car actually started moving. Ultimately, he said, the officiating team determined that Keselowski would not be handed a penalty, noting that he actually helped de-escalate a potential safety situation while also staying well out of the way of the post-accident cleanup happening elsewhere on the track. Sawyer then commended Keselowski for the quick thinking:


"As we sat there in the tower, we said there's no penalty there. He hasn't advanced his position, obviously he was completely away from the incident where we had safety vehicles cleaning up and attending to drivers. We look at that as no harm, no foul, and actually commend Brad for being able to do that and think on his feet, if you will, to not make that situation any worse."

Keselowski, who led at the time of the awkward red flag maneuvering, would go on to finish second in the race and push teammate Chris Buescher to the win. Both drivers are in the playoffs, making Keselowski one of two owner-drivers both in the playoffs and the co-owner of two cars in the field. The other owner-driver, Denny Hamlin, co-owns two playoff cars entered by his 23XI Racing team but drives an unrelated entry for Joe Gibbs Racing.