Penalties Possible Following NASCAR Brawl Involving Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski

Critics blame playoff-style format for changing NASCAR's culture.

— -- NASCAR could decide as early as today on potential penalties for the drivers involved in Sunday’s bloody brawl following the AAA Texas 500.

Crew members and drivers from numerous teams were involved in the free-for-all -- pushing, punching and shoving.

The situation unfolded after superstar Jeff Gordon, 43, chased down rival Brad Keselowski, 30, after a crash on the race’s final lap, ending Gordon’s chance for victory lane.

Both Gordon and Keselowski declined to comment Monday.

It was NASCAR’s third major fight since April. Critics blamed the new playoff-style format for the Sprint Cup Championship -- with three rounds of elimination and a final-four-type showdown between drivers -- for changing the culture of the sport.

“The drivers, in my opinion, have never been under more pressure,” said Ricky Craven, an ESPN analyst and former NASCAR driver. “I think the format is responsible for that.”

But more drama could mean an improvement to NASCAR’s sagging ratings. As of July, 15 of 16 Sprint Cup telecasts saw declining ratings over last year, according to Sports Media Watch.