Kevin Harvick moved into the third round of NASCAR's championship race with a victory Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where tempers flared after the race and two drivers had to be restrained from fighting Brad Keselowski.
Harvick had to win a two-lap sprint to the finish to grab his third victory of the season, but attention turned quickly to two near-brawls in the garage involving Keselowski. Denny Hamlin was held back by his own crew from going after Keselowski, who appeared to try to wreck Hamlin after the race.
Then Matt Kenseth appeared to jump on Keselowski from behind between two haulers and multiple team members had to pull back Kenseth. Kenseth and Keselowski made contact racing for the lead on a late restart, and Kenseth was livid that Keselowski hit his car after the race.
"It was really the safety. He was doing something with Hamlin, I had my seat belt off, my [head-and-neck restraint] off and he clobbers me," Kenseth said. "The race is over, come back to pit road. If you want to talk about it like a man, go do that. But if you want to wreck somebody on the racetrack with people standing around, that's just inexcusable.
"There's no excuse for that. That's a champion and he's supposed to know better than that."
It capped a terrible night for three of NASCAR's biggest stars: Keselowski, six-time and defending champion Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. all go into next Sunday's elimination race at Talladega needing a victory.
Keselowski finished 16th, Johnson was 17th and Earnhardt was 20th — last in the 12-driver Chase field. Earnhardt broke his shifter early in the race.
The four drivers now in danger of being eliminated next week are Kenseth, Keselowski, Johnson and Earnhardt.
Kenseth also had his own rough night and didn't even make it to the green flag before things went awry.