Roger Penske says he won't interfere with Brad Keselowski's approach to racing, as he came out in support of his driver after his spat with Carl Edwards.
Following Saturday's meeting between Edwards, Keselowski, their respective team bosses and NASCAR officials, Penske said he has never told his drivers how to race and he won't do so now with Keselowski, despite some believing he is too aggressive.
"I don't tell my drivers to run hard or to run soft," said Penske. "I think he knows what he has to do on the racetrack with his peers and, quite honestly, he's not making any statements about what he's gonna do or not do. I think the media has taken some of that, moved it further and made a bigger circle around him.
"What I want him to do is run fair on the racetrack and be competitive. But he's got to respect the other drivers. They have to respect him."
Keselowski said openly last week that he won't back down from his approach to racing, but Penske said he has not heard his driver say so.
"He hasn't said that to me," said Penske. "He wants to race. He wants to have his car in the race at the end. Consequently, if you're not keeping your car underneath you, you're gonna get yourself in trouble and not be there in the end. As far as I'm concerned, it's behind us. It's an issue that was between the two drivers."
Reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said on Friday that Keselowski's attitude had "turned the garage against him." Penske says that no matter how rivals feel about his 26-year-old driver, he will remain supportive of him.
"I'm not taking a poll in the garage area about what driver personalities are and what other people feel about them," said Penske. "He's a competitor out there. He drives for Penske Racing and I'm going to support him."
Meanwhile, Edwards' boss Jack Roush said he told his driver that he "did not condone" what he did at Atlanta when he retaliated against Keselowski on the track, but that he did "understand" his actions. Roush added he doesn't expect the two drivers to see eye to eye, although he anticipates more respect on the track between the two.
"I think that they will give one another enough respect that we won't see another occurrence like [Atlanta]," said Roush. "I think Carl is not likely to have incidental contact with Brad and cause a wreck, and I think Brad is not like to have incidental contact with Carl and cause a wreck in the foreseeable future."
Keselowski enters Sunday's race at Bristol 33rd in the points and needs a solid result to remain inside the top 35 in the owners' standings ahead of next weekend's event at Martinsville.