News & Media

Keselowski, others react to driver's penalties

November 15, 2012, Joe Menzer,

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Championship leader fined $25,000, put on probation for having phone in his car

Reaction was mixed Thursday to the penalties -- a $25,000 fine and probation through Dec. 31 -- levied against Brad Keselowski for having a cell phone in his No. 2 Dodge and tweeting during a red-flag delay Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.

"I don't think NASCAR was penalizing him for tweeting. NASCAR doesn't want the phones in the car because of what he could possibly do with a cell phone and the on-board computer or what have you," said James Buescher, the Camping World Truck Series points leader. "They made the rule and they want to stand behind the rule, whether you're sending information to your crew chief or your engineer or you're tweeting. It's a rule.

"Some tracks that we go to, I have a hard enough time just trying to keep the truck between the walls, much less taking pictures and tweeting them."


"Who knows what he was doing? He could have been tweeting or he could have been doing some of the other stuff. I'm not saying that's what Brad was doing, but NASCAR made the rule and had to stand behind it."

Others questioned whether Keselowski actually could have used the phone to forge any kind of competitive advantage.

"If there is a competitive advantage to it, they're way ahead of what I know and what my team knows as far as how to use a phone to create that advantage," Nationwide Series driver Austin Dillon said. "Maybe 20 years down the road, or even 10, but I know nothing about that right now."

Timothy Peters, who drives in the Truck Series, agreed.

"Some tracks that we go to, I have a hard enough time just trying to keep the truck between the walls, much less taking pictures and tweeting them," Peters said.

But Peters and Ty Dillon, Austin's younger brother who drives in the Truck Series, said they understood why Keselowski was fined.

"Obviously, there are rules that we have to abide by for NASCAR. ... So I definitely understand the rule and respect it, and I'll bet he will now, too," Peters said.

Ty Dillon added: "I agree with NASCAR's standpoint on it. We've got enough stuff going on inside a race car. We don't need to have cell phones in there, distracting us.

"It was a really cool thing for the sport when Brad did tweet from his car in Daytona [during a red-flag delay in the Daytona 500]. It did a lot for the sport social media-wise, but having a phone in a race car doesn't really say much for our texting laws in real cars, so I think it's the right thing for NASCAR to do."

Austin Dillon said he has so much going through his mind during a race that he can't imagine having a cell phone inside his car and then picking it up to do anything with it during a caution or red-flag delay, but he allowed that everyone is different -- and Keselowski certainly is different.

"I've got too much to focus on to have a phone in my [race] car, I know that. That's just something I don't do," he said. "[Brad] was comfortable with it, and I don't think it's a safety issue or anything like that, or a performance-enhancement thing, either.

"He's taken advantage of it for Twitter and things like that. I think he's done a good job of that. And if he can do it, more power to him. My job is to stay focused in the race car the whole time and know what's going on, and that's just me."

Keselowski drew attention to his penchant for Twitter when he pulled his cell phone out and began tweeting during a red-flag delay February in the Daytona 500. Within a matter of days, his number of followers swelled to more than 225,000. As of Friday, that had grown to nearly 326,000.

Asked on Thursday during the Championship Contenders news conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway what he thought the fine meant going forward, Keselowski was philosophical about it.

"I think it means that you can still be involved in social media, but I think NASCAR has certainly said that they want to draw a line as to what you can do specifically in the car. And I think that's what it means for the future," he said.

Peters joked that he'd like to have Keselowski's problems.

"I'm just learning how to tweet, and I've got some great followers," Peters said. "It would be great to have a quarter of a million followers like Brad, but I'm not that tech-savvy yet."