Richard Childress says Keselowski and Earnhardt are two of a kind
Last year in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Brad Keselowski earned the enmity of his fellow drivers for his late-race tactics. But Richard Childress, car owner for the late Dale Earnhardt, said he has no problem with Keselowski roughing up competitors.
Keselowski made plenty of headlines last year, and is unrepentant about his style.
At the 2014 fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the usually mild-mannered Matt Kenseth threw Keselowski into a headlock after Keselowski plowed into his stopped car on pit road. Then, at Texas Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon punched Keselowski in the mouth and called him "a dips–t" after the two had contact on a green-white-checkered restart.
Earnhardt, of course, had a well-earned reputation for aggressive driving, so it’s no surprise that the guy who used to sign his paychecks is cool with how Keselowski races.
Asked during the final day of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom if Keselowski was being too aggressive, Childress minced no words. "No. I don’t think he is," said Childress. "He’s a hard driver. I like Brad. I don’t see … he’s just a hard racer."
Then Childress invoked the Earnhardt legend. "I had a racer like that with me once and people gave us a little heat back in the day," Childress said. "You just take it and go on and race to win. … You know he’s going to race you as hard as he can."
One of Childress’ current drivers, Ryan Newman, nearly won the Sprint Cup championship last year.
Newman said Thursday he expects even more on-track disagreements between drivers this year thanks to the winner-take-all championship format. But Newman insists he’s prepared. "My wife bought me brass knuckles for Christmas," Newman deadpanned.