Brad Keselowski came in for criticism from fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup champions Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth after triggering the largest crash of Sunday's Talladega round.
Twelve cars were caught up in the lap 136 incident, which began when Keselowski lost control right in front of Trevor Bayne.
Keselowski was five laps down at the time, having required a long pitstop for repairs after an earlier incident with Danica Patrick that sent his Penske Ford slewing across the infield.
Gordon and Kenseth were among the drivers taken out in the crash, and the former felt Keselowski was being too aggressive for a driver so far behind in the overall order.
"I'm not exactly sure why he was driving the way he was driving to begin with, but obviously he was trying to get his lap back and felt that was the way to do it," said Gordon.
"It was unfortunate what happened to him earlier, but more unfortunate what happened to many of us in that incident.
"I had seen him for several laps driving over his head and being pretty aggressive.
"I knew he was laps down, but he wasn't doing anybody any favours, nor himself. He was probably taking more than he should have been in the situation he was in."
Kenseth described Keselowski's driving as "mind-boggling", in a direct reference to how Keselowski had referred to him following their Richmond spat a week earlier.
"If it had been the other way around we definitely would have been getting lectured," said Kenseth.
Keselowski admitted to over-aggression, but felt the Talladega race demanded such tactics.
"I don't know if I just busted my butt on my own or lost a tyre, but I feel bad for everyone that got torn up," he said.
"We had a lot of close calls and I guess most of them were my fault, but I'm just being real aggressive. That's what it takes to win here.
"Every wreck is a byproduct of Talladega.
"That's just the track we're on - everybody wants to lead laps, everybody wants to run up front and certainly I wanted to get my laps back and have a shot to win at the end and the only way I was going to do that was by being really aggressive at the front half of the field."