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Dale Earnhardt Jr. defends Brad Keselowski for dropping American flag during victory celebration

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Keselowski lost hold of the American flag while celebrating winning Sunday’s NASCAR race.

Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Just as he customarily does following every victory, Brad Keselowski proudly held an American flag outside the driver's-side door upon winning Sunday's NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

But as Keselowski performed celebratory donuts along the front straightaway, he lost grip of the flag, which fell to the ground. Sustained winds eclipsing 40 mph hampered the Kobalt 400 and a strong gust caused Keselowski to drop the flag.

Mindful of what happened and the significance of the flag lying on the asphalt, Keselowski quickly stopped the No. 2 car, unstrapped himself, climbed out and ran to retrieve the flag. That act was met with cheers among those in attendance.

Not everyone, however, was happy with Keselowski's gesture. In a since deleted tweet, someone asked Keselowski why he hadn't publicly apologize for desecrating "the greatest symbol of this nation on the ground. ... Shame on you!!!!"

Keselowski responded by tweeting his apology in the form of him immediately stopping and going to pick up the flag. Dale Earnhardt Jr. then defended Keselowski by telling the critic to, "put a sock in it. Guy was tryin to honor country and troops."