Austin Dillon Rejects Conversation With Brad Keselowski After Bizarre New Hampshire Conflict and References Violent Crash From 2021
In a New Hampshire Cup Series race where Martin Truex Jr. dominated but helplessly watched teammate Christopher Bell claim his first win of the season, the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers were just one storyline. The other featured a bizarre feud between Brad Keselowski and Austin Dillon that inexplicably started in the middle of a caution, and no one knew what precipitated the conflict.
After the race, the 2012 Cup Series champion said he didn’t want to provide his version of events through the media and would rather talk to his competitor directly. The Richard Childress Racing had no such feelings, insisting he had nothing to say and called out his counterpart for the way he raced and referenced a particular frightening crash from 2021.
Brad Keselowski and Austin Dillon feud starts unexpectedly
Just past the midway point of the race in New Hampshire, Kyle Busch spun out by himself for a second time. That was an interesting story. What ensued next completely ended any conversation about Busch’s second mishap when cameras showed Brad Keselowski deliberately driving into Austin Dillon multiple times.
As is often the case, the cameras just caught the retaliation portion of the incident. Replay showed the RCR driver initiating contact by moving up the track and intentionally running into the side of the No. 6 car.
Keselowski immediately responded, turning down and slamming into the side of Dillon’s car, staying engaged as the cars drove down the backstretch. The RFK car eventually dropped behind, and the cars separated.
Keselowski, Dillon take different approaches in postrace interview
During the broadcast, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the production team had gone back in the race and was unable to find what precipitated the incident. After the race, NBC caught up with Keselowski and asked him what happened.
“Hot in the cars and we all let our tempers get the best of us. We had a decent day here. The Kohler Generators Ford Mustang climbed really far that last run. I think we went from somewhere around the late teens and 20’s up to seventh on that last run. I am proud of our team for the effort today. It was certainly an up and down day today and it was good to finish on an up note.”
When NBC’s Kim Coon informed the driver that she had spoken with Dillon and he told her that he didn’t like how Keselowski raced him, the RFK driver-owner avoided getting into details.
“I’ll talk to him privately,” Keselowski said. “I don’t need to be a jerk over the media.”
Moments later, NBC showed Coon’s interview with Dillon and she asked him what happened.
“You guys saw it, right?” he asked. “It’s just hard racing, I guess. We’ve gone at it a couple of times the last two years; one time, I hit really hard. I just don’t like the way certain people race me, and it’s probably not the right way to do it under caution.”
When Coon asked if the conflict warranted a conversation with Keselowski, Dillon responded, “No, I don’t talk to him.”
The pair have a history dating back to Michigan last year
Dillon’s comment about the hard hit was referring to an incident last August at Michigan International Speedway. As the two cars crossed the start-finish line at the end of Stage 2, Keselowski, in his No. 2 Penske car, got into the right rear of the No. 3 car, causing it to make a hard right turn and violently slam into the outside wall, before it spun and got up on two wheels, nearly flipping.
Replays showed both cars passing the finish line, with Dillon dropping below the white line on the bottom of the track and Keselowski following on his rear. It appeared Keselowski was in the wrong during that incident as he crowded the No. 3 car before hooking him. He immediately apologized over his radio for causing the wreck.
After the race, Richard Childress was not happy and threatened to kick Keselowski’s ass.
Apparently, Dillon still harbors bad feelings from that incident and displayed that frustration on Sunday. Based on the RCR driver’s unwillingness to talk through it, this likely isn’t over. And the fans are fine with that.