Brad Keselowski defends trademark flag celebration after mishap with Old Glory

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Brad Keselowski’s trademark celebration was blown apart after winning the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The Team Penske driver traditionally has flown an American flag through the driver’s-side opening of his No. 2 Ford during victory laps.

A team member secured the flag through the window net before Keselowski began his burnout Sunday. But with persistent gusts of up to 40 mph around the 1.5-mile oval, the flag came loose and fell onto the asphalt after Keselowski’s car laid down a long trail of smoke on the frontstretch.

Keselowski immediately stopped, climbed out and sprinted to pick up the flag. He waved it for the crowd before hopping back into his Fusion for the ride to victory lane.

After the race, Keselowski was tweeted by someone (who later deleted the posting) about why the 2012 Sprint Cup champion hadn’t apologized for “dropping the greatest symbol of this nation on the ground … Shame on you!!!!”

Keselowski explained that he had apologized.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. also defended his friend and neighbor (Keselowski, who once drove for JR Motorsports, has lived in a house adjacent to Earnhardt’s North Carolina property).