Accidents will happen,
We only hit and run,
I don’t want to hear it,
Because I know what I’ve done.
There’s nothing so wrong with the new NASCAR that an old racetrack can’t fix it. There’s only one track left on the schedule that was a part of NASCAR’s inaugural 1949 “Strictly Stock” (now Cup) schedule, and there’s a reason race fans have been flocking to Martinsville for 66 years back since it was still a dirt track. It’s not just for the hot dogs. The racing at Martinsville tends to get physical, tempers get frayed and sheetmetal gets bent. For years Martinsville (and North Wilkesboro in its day) was a date some drivers circled on their calendars. Racecar drivers tend to have exceptional memories. They keep a list of every fellow competitor they felt have wronged them, and come Martinsville, it’s time to settle the score. And if payback was a bitch Sunday at Martinsville it would have to be considered an AKC certified grand champion.
Obviously folks have differing opinions on the now infamous Matt Kenseth–Joey Logano brouhaha probably related to which driver or make of car they prefer. Those opinions are probably also sharply divided based on how long someone has been following the sport. Newer fans might find Kenseth’s actions the height of hooliganism. Those of us who have been following the sport longer consider it “business as usual.” Pretty clearly the crowd on hand had a favorable reaction to Kenseth’s driving Logano into the wall. I’m sure somewhere in the thunderous applause that erupted after the incident there were some folks booing as well. In the infamous words of the late Dale Earnhardt; “If they ain’t cheering they damn well better be booing.” In stark contrast to a whole lot of races, a great many people were still on hand in the grandstands to register their opinion on what happened. At a lot of races over the last few years, by halfway there’s folks who’ve decided the race has become such a boring rout, and Earnhardt (or Gordon, or Johnson et al) isn’t going to win so they pack up their gear and head for their cars to beat the post-race traffic.
By the three-quarter mark of the race there tends to be a mass exodus, and with 10 laps to go it’s a veritable stampede, a rather sad state of affairs given ticket prices. But Martinsville has always been one of those tracks where if you miss the last 20 laps you might be shocked by the final running order when it appears in the next day’s paper. (Ahem… or more likely on the Internet on your smartphone while you’re still stuck in miserable traffic despite leaving early.) Anyone else remember the spring race at Martinsville back in 2012 when Ryan Newman got a bit overly excited on a GWC restart on and put Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson (who had dominated the race) into the spin cycle to steal the win? If you do, how many other races do you remember from 2012? That one was a keeper. And beyond the grandstands all across the country Sunday race fans were leaping up from their recliners where they typically nap during most stock car races lately, jaws hanging open as if needing to see a replay to confirm what they’d just seen occur. I know in my case I sprang out of my comfy chair hard enough I sent my beverage cup end over end not only across the room but down the hallway clear to the bathroom.
But some will insist, this was different. A driver who was nine laps down went ahead and took out the leader! That’s dirty pool! All right then. How exactly did Kenseth get all those laps down after having had a fast car all day? I seem to recall that when Logano and Brad Keselowski were running one-two they had a deal on restarts wherein the leader would choose the less desirable outside lane, while the second-place runner would slow dramatically after the restart to allow his teammate back in line. From there the twosome could motor happily away while the other front-runners engaged in side by side battles over third spot and that coveted inside lane. Was that tactic illegal? Apparently not, because even as blatant as the maneuvering was NASCAR swallowed their whistle. Was the tactic sporting? No it was not. But the strategy was deadly effective. I’m not biased. I’m a Mustang guy, not a Camry owner, but that maneuvering had me grinding my teeth.
Yes, the No. 2 and No. 22 are teammates, but they both had fast cars and I’d have preferred they battle for individual glory rather than team success. (And while we’re on the topic of teeth-grinding, I wasn’t enamored with drivers slamming on their brakes exiting pit road to try to ensure they rejoined the race in an odd numbered position to have a spot on the preferred inside line. Maybe it was just me but I was recalling the old Three Stooges skit “No, after you, I insist.” In a double irony, a decision to give up a spot coming off pit road nearly cost Kevin Harvick a chance at a good finish when he had a fender knocked in in the fray and was forced to pit again. But in the end being back aways probably spared him getting caught up on the wreck on the subsequent restart so he had a good finish anyway. Yes, I’ve seen teammate juking the restarts before and I’ve seen the games at pit exit previously but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.)
And that’s when things got sideways. Logano and Keselowski fumbled the pass of the baton on the lap 436 restart (likely because the strategy was so blatant the other drivers were doing their damnedest to circumvent it). Keselowski had to check up to restore order, and, not surprisingly, he got hit from behind by Kurt Busch, who had some insane idea he’d like to lead for a while if at all possible. The subsequent melee also collected Kenseth’s Joe Gibbs Racing entry, which is how he went nine laps down in the garage area his Camry getting emergency reconstructive battlefield surgery. It’s odd to me that the same folks wringing their hands over Logano’s fate apparently won’t take a moment to sympathize with Busch’s plight as he came across the track both front wheels off the ground and clobbered the inside wall. Few folks I’ve talked to seemed to catch just how close the eventual race winner Gordon was to getting caught up in that mess as well. There was in fact a lot of damage to the left rear corner of the No. 24. A few feet further up and likely he’d have been limping his Chevy to the garage as well.
So that’s how Kenseth got nine laps down. You didn’t have to be psychic to know Kenseth was likely fuming. Everyone seems to want to write this off as payback for Kansas, but I think Kenseth’s temper was stirred from embers to conflagration level by the incident on the restart, not by something that happened three weeks ago. Ironically, the day would have turned out a whole lot better for Logano had he just driven his own race. Yep, Kenseth might have put up a fight, but with his still having a chance at a win he likely wouldn’t have decided it was time for payback at the cost of a possible victory. As it was his mindset was probably along the lines of “Well then. You played a part in seeing to it I won’t win this race. I suppose I’ll have to just see to it you don’t either.” Mission accomplished.
The title of this column is purposely sarcastic. I know what happened wasn’t an accident. You know the same. Kenseth knows the incident was purposeful, and, perhaps most importantly, Logano does as well. If I was Kenseth’s PR guy preparing him to exit the infield care center and face the media scrum I’d have suggested he say, “Aw, I didn’t mean to wreck him. I just wanted to rattle his cage a little. That there was quintessential NASCAR.” C’mon now. Which Bristol night race do most of you recall the best? Brian France wanted some “Game 7” moments? Well he sure as hell got one. It’s ironic that while Kenseth will probably be fined (a non-penalty given what Cup drivers made), lose points (hey, he’s already out of title contention) and perhaps even get suspended, but NASCAR types are already rushing to include video highlights of the incident in their promotional reels to sell tickets for upcoming events and next year. It’d be a damn shame if Kenseth isn’t at Texas, because Eddie Gossage could probably sell a bunch of tickets to fans wanting to see Round 3.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m not wringing my hands over what happened and that has nothing to do with who the two drivers involved were or what makes of cars they drove. What I saw was a genuine display of human emotion in a sport nearly devoid of it lately. In this case that emotion was rage, and no it wasn’t pretty. But this is after all stock car racing, not lawn croquet. This is a sport put on the national map (from which it has by and large receded over the past decade) by the Allison brothers and Cale Yarborough having a little post-incident discussion at Daytona in 1979. Long-time fans have seen it all before. Yes, it’s more palatable when drivers wreck each other fighting over a win, but I can recall numerous instances of drivers and team forced to the garage area repairing cars just well enough to return a driver to combat not to gather points but to right a perceived wrong at the hands of another driver. Let’s see… Gordon and Clint Bowyer… Darrell Waltrip and just about everyone… Rusty Wallace and Gordon… Carl Edwards and Keselowski… Bill Elliott and Earnhardt (the seniors in both instances), Bobby Allison and Richard Petty… the list goes on.
What did catch me off guard was some of the media comments after the fact. Kyle Petty seems to want to Kenseth flogged with desert thorns for hooliganism. Hmmm. Funny thing is I seem to recall Petty himself getting irritated on a restart because another driver in the “laps down” line wouldn’t yield position to him. Petty went ahead and wrecked the offending driver on the restart in an attempt to get his lap back, but NASCAR penalized him. His then colorful and flamboyant car owner Felix Sabates then had Petty’s car repainted black and silver for the next race in a less than subtle protest: if it had been Earnhardt who did the same thing, NASCAR wouldn’t have penalized him. Some of the post-race commentary on what had happened was grating. Oh, woe is me! This sort of thing can’t be allowed to happen in stock car racing. This is a black eye for the sport. We don’t need this sort of thuggery in stock car racing!
What we don’t need in stock car racing is analysts with too much mousse in their hair, wearing ties, proclaiming themselves experts though their own driving careers never went much of anywhere. “I wish the fans were booing!” one of them huffed. You know what? They weren’t. Deal with it. Find a new line of work. Call it a “bread and circuses” mentality, but over the last decade a whole lot of fans have been hollering “more bread… better circuses.” Another opined Kenseth’s move has set the sport back decades. Here’s hoping. If we could land it back around 1988 that would be ideal.
But, some will protest, there has to be a line drawn somewhere! In fact there is. Stock car racing isn’t lawn croquet, but it’s not a demolition derby either. So where do I draw the line? Well I seem to recall a truck race at Texas back in 2011. Kyle Busch, a full-time Cup driver, was moonlighting in the truck series, He felt he’d been roughed up in an early race incident so he went ahead and took out Ron Hornaday Jr., a full-time Truck Series driver competing for that year’s title… under caution, even as his spotter and crew chief hollered at him not to do it. Yep, I found that outright reprehensible. For his knavery Busch was suspended for that Sunday’s Cup event at Texas. If NASCAR were to decide wrecking someone under caution in a series where you aren’t eligible for points deserves the same penalty as what happened on Sunday, they’re clearly sending the wrong message. If it does happen, I’d love to see JGR put Ross Kenseth in the No. 20 Cup car next weekend. It’d be a little more subtle than what Matt did on Sunday, but the message would be the same.
Over the years Kenseth has been on both sides of the Matthew 26:52 equation. (In this instance Matthew is neither Kenseth or McLaughlin… he’s sold a whole lot more books.) I recall a then-Busch race at Dover in 1999. Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were battling for the series title and Kenseth went spinning off the front bumper of Earnhardt. They said afterward they both hated that it happened. Kenseth presumably hated it a whole lot more than Earnhardt. But then I recall a Busch race at Rockingham where Kenseth sent some dude named Tony Stewart spinning come off the final curve even as fans were scrambling through their programs to find out who was driving the No. 17 Robby Reiser-owned Ford that day. It was Kenseth’s first win in that series and led to an eventual job offer from Jack Roush.
While we’re taking a hayride down Memory Lane, that first Martinsville Cup race in 1949 was won by that year’s eventual champion Red Byron at the wheel of an Oldsmobile. He finished three laps ahead of Lee Petty in a Plymouth and Ray Erikson in a Mercury. Sadly, not only have all three drivers since passed, so have the three car marques they were driving that day. But the hot dogs are still the same at Martinsville! When the France family first took over the joint they tried messing with the hot dogs and, brother, if you think people are kicking up a hullabaloo over Sunday’s race you ought to have heard the screaming back then. (Yeah, OK, the heart of the matter is Valleydale meat now, not Jesse Jones.)
Clearly there’s no need to call in CSI for an investigation of that occurred Sunday. We know whodunit, we know where, when and how. All that’s left to sort out is a motive. And when you sift through the ashes and the broken car parts what you’ll ultimately find is NASCAR’s fingerprints all over the weapon. Blame the Chase format and the elimination rounds. They told us that this format would make the racing more exciting. Well they got all the excitement they could handle and then some on Sunday, didn’t they? It’s a matter of the Law on Unintended Consequences. By having drivers eliminated from playoff contention out there competing against those still eligible for the title, some of the former feeling they’d been unfairly deprived of their chance, well, this sort of shit is going to happen time to time. They can scold Kenseth, fine him, take away points and sit him on the sidelines awhile, but they can’t give Logano back a race win (or at least a top-five finish) he was headed for prior to the incident.
Oh well. If you don’t like it, change the format. Ironically enough under the old pre-Chase Latford system, Logano would still be leading the points despite a rough day at Martinsville. He’d be 21 points up on Harvick and yeah, the rest of the field would be all but mathematically eliminated. And I’d be OK with that. Logano has six wins and he’d be leading the points. Harvick has three wins. Both drivers have top 20 top-five results in 33 races. Yep, with three races left to run we’d have a good little points battle on our hands, and yesterday’s race (presuming the results were the same) would have tightened things up nicely. In the NXS and the trucks, we have two intriguing championship battles minus any of this Chase nonsense. Still in an uproar over Sunday? I think it was Kyle Busch who said last week, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
I’m also amazed by how many pundits have decided that Logano’s title chances were doomed by what happened Sunday. He may have left Martinsville hot under the collar but prior to that Logano was the hottest driver on the circuit. All he needs to do is win one of the next two races to advance. He’s clearly capable of winning either of the two. Mathematically he could get in on points alone, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on that happening. To use a tortured sports analogy, Logano and the No. 22 team are up in the bottom of the ninth with the winning run at the plate. After Martinsville, he’s got one strike on him. It’s time for Logano to swing for the fences. After all, Brian France wants his Game 7 moment.
Hopefully Kenseth and Logano will patch things up this week. Maybe Matt could bury the hatchet by giving Joey a $50 gift card to Dollar General. Then of course he could add, “You’re going to be able to get a lot of cool stuff. You might want to bring your dad to help you carry your bags.” Truthfully, I hope they just decide to agree to disagree. This sport has been sadly lacking in rivalries and feuds as of late. Even if it’s a battle between two of the most milquetoast personalities in the sport, it beats everyone standing around singing “Kumbaya” by firelight.
Hopefully not lost in all the uproar was Gordon’s 93rd career at the curtain comes down on his storied career. Yep, it was right out of Hollywood; a legendary driver in the twilight of his career drives off into the daylight adjusted autumnal sunset (well, actually I think the sun had already set and it was twilight) on his way to victory lane. I think over those final 10 laps a whole lot of race fans were pulling for the No. 24 thinking, “If my driver can’t win, Gordon winning wouldn’t be so bad.” (Yes, I am aware there are still rabidly ABG types out who hated to see him win, but then there can’t be a Jeff Gordon without there being ABG types.) I had little use for Gordon myself back when he entered the sport, quickly began winning and in short order dominating races.
It’s perhaps ironic that a large portion of the ABG types were Earnhardt Sr. fans. In the era he was dominating the sport, there were a whole lot of folks who were Anybody-But-Earnhardt zealots. When anyone wins too many races, they’ll develop a group of fans but in equal or greater numbers equally rabid detractors. Over the past decade the wins for Gordon haven’t come as frequently. He’s learned a dose of humility and has been as gracious in defeat as he was in victory. It’s hard to believe Gordon’s last Cup title was scored in 2001, almost 14 years ago. Over the last five years, Gordon has only won 11 races. (Yes, I am aware there’s a whole lot of drivers who would give their left nut for 11 wins over those five seasons). In 1998 alone, Gordon won 13 times. In the two previous seasons he’d won 10 races apiece. And of course, Sunday’s win guarantees Gordon a chance to compete for the title at Homestead. Trust me if that happens, Hollywood will in fact be calling for the movie rights.
If there was a fly in the ointment, it was Gordon’s frank admission that with his spot guaranteed, the No. 24 team will immediately focus on Homestead. I’d have preferred to hear him say “I’ve only got three races left and intend to win every one of them!” It’d be easier to hate a guy with that sort of attitude. But give style points to Gordon who, either by design or coincidence, decided to forego the post-race burnouts and donuts. I think it sent a message, “You all might not have expected me to win this race, but I did.” So could Gordon win a title with just one race win, the same scenario that spawned the Chase which has bedeviled him? I suppose he’s got a 25% shot, just like the three other drivers who make the cut. If he does, NASCAR will have their Game 7 moment and people will finally stop talking about the “All Saints” day race in Virginia. Until then… we’ll always have Martinsville. Here’s looking at you kid.
Accidents will happen,
We only hit and run,
I used to be a victim,
Now I’m not the only one….
About the author
Matt joined Frontstretch in 2007 after a decade of race-writing, paired with the first generation of racing internet sites like RaceComm and Racing One. Now semi-retired, he submits occasional special features while his retrospectives on drivers like Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, and other fallen NASCAR legends pop up every summer on Frontstretch. A motorcycle nut, look for the closest open road near you and you can catch him on the Harley during those bright, summer days in his beloved Pennsylvania.
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Those old trips down memory lane have nothing to do with new fans or old fans. The playing field is totally different courtesy of Nascar and what it has created. Matt was not doing a “racing deal” yesterday. Sad that his mental actions 10 laps down is compared to a racing deal at Charlotte and Kansas started by him and finished by two separate drivers, who did the exact same thing. Only one is hung over the coals. Matt has worked the sheep up to believe his 10 lap car had the right and was the same as Kansas and Charlotte. I want to know the rules from Nascar as to what I always assumed was a good racing deal, and how what mental Matt did yesterday is good racing and how it is or not justified. Seems some are lumping the two together, and I know those two incidents are polar opposites.
good luck with getting rules from NASCAR. They change every week.
I understand you supporting your favorite, kb but I had no idea that you hated Chevy, its drivers and fans that much.
Gina, yes the rules do change week to week..but if the narrative on things is going be a certain way. I would like Nascar to define what is correct and not..given todays climate of “The Chase” and all the implications and ramifications from acts like what happened on Sunday.
You have followed a driver in the Chevy world, which makes up the majority..they are dominate presence. I believe there is a media and fan bias. You can say I am wearing my tin foil hat, it won’t bother me. Fans like you, I respect your opinion and your devotion to your driver. Many are not like you.
kb, I hear you about NASCAR defining the rules. The thing is IMO they really don’t want to do that. They want to have it so they can twist things so it best benefits them. It was like the restart deal. Apparently the drivers were asking and asking for clarification. NASCAR didn’t want to do that because it only benefits them to be able to define it however they like. they got their wish at Talladega, although considering Jr was knocked out, it probably didn’t work out exactly as planned.
I also agree with your issue with the narrative. Over the years having NASCAR and the media say one thing and then reverse themselves to say something else that is completely contradictory all the while they are running advertising playing up the thing they are decrying is hypocritical and yet they all continue to do it.
You’re right, I have followed a Chevy driver all his career – mainly because my family was always Chevy. As noted, there are far more Chevy teams than any other – although the dratted Toyotas are gaining. However I will cheer for a Ford driver before I’ll cheer for a Toyota driver as I remember very distinctly being at the Daytona 500 one year as the laps were winding down and it was pretty striking when I realized that the roar from the fans was for a Ford taking the lead over the Toyota that had been. I don’t remember who won that day – I remember it all ending in a pile of smoking steel and being ticked about that. I understand that there is bias – pretty much for all fans. I try to be reasonable although I’m not always successful.
Thanks..nice response… :) :)
Thanks Gina, nice response… :) :)
Excellent work Matt. Thank you for reminding me why i used to be a devoted fan. Now days I just check in for amusment purposes.
Amen on the talking heads trying to act as if the sport (show) will die with this type of activity. They should be happy that something happened that may draw interest to the event.
Kb (joey’s mom) would have lost her mind if she were a fan back in the 80’s & 90’s!
PCar, Ricky Rudd was favorite driver, loved him, still do…The Labonte Brothers, and Ward Burton. Can I fill you in on any other scintillating details? You seem pretty interested in trolling me.
On a lighter note, I did feel bad for Jeff Gordon’s son, Leo, who apparently received the only invite for the post-race Bad Sweater contest.
I compare this a lot to fighting in hockey. It isn’t necessarily good for the sport (even though the fans love it) but it happens and when it does there is a (somewhat) standard penalty. I don’t like seeing cars purposely wreck each other (or hockey players fight) because it doesn’t help their teams and it isn’t the goal of the sport but it happens. There are times when in competition that a competitor feels that’s their only recourse and that how things spiral down. I get that but that’s why you have a sanctioning body and hopefully NASCAR will come up with a standard penalty even though, as you point out, no two situations are exactly alike. However, there has to be repercussions for going over that line. Fans have to realize that no matter what the penalty is that there will still be someone that crosses it if they get pissed enough. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does because if they want this idiotic, crapshoot elimination format to ever have any legitimacy (which I personally don’t think it ever will) they have to find a way to police/officiate it.
Good point about the media. You can add Dale Jarrett purposely taking out Ryan Newman at the fall Bristol race in 2005 or 2006 after Ryan got into him earlier in the race which took Jarrett out of the running to make the chase. Once again, not trying to vilify DJ just pointing out that there are very few drivers who haven’t had one of those moments. It happens and there should be a penalty and that should be the end.
Don’t forget, Jeff Burton, at Texas, made a hard right turn in turn two and stuffed Gordon into the wall under yellow a few years ago, too. Can’t tell me that wasn’t on purpose.
I forgot about that. Yeah, he claimed it wasn’t on purpose but I didn’t buy it.
Good take as usual Matt. I was entertained and amused with the old style short track racing. I didn’t spill a beer but I did sit up in my chair, yelp out loud and clap at midnight (DVR). Wife got up to check on me and wasn’t pleased. I’ll be honest (dislike the phrase, implies at times I’m not honest) I am not much of a fan of any driver or manufacturer anymore but I do still love to hate some drivers. As a general rule my disdain is aimed at the silver spoon bunch in which I firmly place Logano. Call me wrong, shallow, jealous and/or mentally unstable KB but it’s my truth. It is obvious that a whole lots of people have some reason to dislike Logano, the reaction of the crowd proved it and it was a rare and magic moment. Short Tracks Rule. Logano is the best this year, I hope BZF takes the championsip away from him and inserts Gordon with yet another signature game seven moment. FYI, I own two Fords so don’t go there.
One observation I immediately made was the cat like reflex NASCAR exhibited in penalizing Matt. Matt didn’t even have the window net down. Where did that come from? Back to the Harvick/Dega deal, it took them two days using murder trial evidence review and conviction requirements to decide whether it was intentional or not and they still got it wrong. I should commend NASCAR for it but, being an official BZF NASCAR Hater Club member, I can’t. I am, after all, wrong, shallow, jealous and/or mentally unstable (known to some as human).
LOL where do I sign up for the official BZF/NASCAR hater club? I can’t stand that man!
let me know the address too!
by the way, noticed his wife received some award for charity…..is this a new wife? i thought brain fart went through a divorce a year or two ago that had all of daytona beach in a frenzy for fear of their financial information being released in the court proceedings.
So, if Logano is in the Silver Spoon bunch, is Dale Earnhardt, Jr? Sure, he had do some of his early short track racing the hard way. But, how many opportunities opened because of his dad, his dad’s sponsors, etc.
Face it, money is important in racing and many at your local short track are short on money, but big on talent.
At the top level, you still have to perform and two drivers are at the head of the class this year. Harvick and Logano. The old point system would have determined a true champion and if that was the case, Kenseth/Logano would only rank slightly higher than Patrick/Gilleland.
I don’t remember Newman starting the wreck at Martinsville. It was another driver who dive-bombed the corner and started the cars spinning. I remember thinking when I saw the lineup that the cars probably wouldn’t get through the first corner and Newman might win.
If Johnson and Gordon are leading on a restart at Talladega they’ve done the same delaying thing as Logano and Brad. How is that different?
In my fuzzy memory it was Gordon and Johnson on the front row, and on the restart, Gordon gave Bowyer enough room on the inside and all three wrecked while Newman drove thru to victory.
Yes that’s how I remember it too. That’s what started the Gordon-Bowyer stuff in 2012.
You could “blame” either Bowyer or Newman for what happened. (or Gordon and Johnson’s decision to stay out on worn rubber) though I typically don’t assign blame for someone trying to win a race rather than settling for a “Good points day.” Gordon opened up the bottom lane, Newman gave Bowyer a solid shot in the rear bumper to propel him alongside the 24, the 24, 48 and 15 wrecked and Newman shot into the lead. For those who missed it, or just want to rewatch the madness, here’s a link. (you might want to mute….damn, I’d forgotten just how annoying DW can be even in two minutes and four seconds.) Yep, quintessential NASCAR and Martinsville.
Yep, I agree that’s how it went down at Martinsville. Only I don’t remember Bowyer actually having enough room. If he had he wouldn’t have hit Gordon, who then hit Johnson allowing Newman to slide through.
So much for memories. Can’t argue with videos. Time definitely erodes memories.
Here’s another one, call it Act 2, Gordon exacting on revenge on Bowyer at Phoenix a couple weeks later. It was pretty blatant and Bowyer was indeed a title contender that year. (He finished 39 points behind Keselowski that year in large part due to thiis incident. A couple things to note. Dale Jarrett didn’t vent righteous wrath on Gordon that day the way he did post-race Sunday at Kenseth. And I’d forgotten who the “Third man in” driver was in that wreck, a PIV by the name of….wait for it…Joey Logano. I post this link so you can compare and contrast any penalties NASCAR hands down to Kenseth later today. (Gordon got fined 100G and lost 25 points but was not suspended….and for the record speeds are much higher at Phoenix than Martinsville.
Some of the blame belonged to David Reutimann who stopped on the track in order to bring out the caution prompted this restart in the first place. If you recall, he was the place holder in the 10 car to keep it in the Top 35 and guarantee a starting spot for Danica Patrick while she was running a part-time Cup schedule.
And they’re not accidents. They’re collisions usually caused by someone doing something stupid.
Good column, Matt. I agree with your point of view wholeheartedly.
Of course you do…………..
I’ll be the first one to stand up and say stock car racing IS a contact sport, though at the speeds the cars can reach on superspeedways that’s a dangerous game. I still say it should be treated differently when the contact is slight, wrecking is not deliberate, and the the the cars are fighting for positions. Kenseth intentionally plowed Logano into the wall while laps down. That doesn’t meet my criteria for acceptable contact, and I hope he is suspended.
Thats said, I do get it. Soemtimes you have to do what you feel you need to do and damn the consequences. As long as Kenseth is okay with whatever punishment is meted out by Nascar, then it’s all just water under the bridge. If it cost Logano the championship, well, that’s a shame, but I suspect he’ll still make a yacht-full more money this year than I will.
“what we don’t need in stock car racing is analysts with too much mousse in their hair, wearing ties, claiming to be experts although their own driving careers never really went anywhere” God Damn, Matt, thank you!
Kyle Petty obviously has his pony tail pulled too tight. Nobody believes your a biker no matter how big a check Polaris writes you. Jeff Burton be advised, NASCAR doesn’t want a “Mayor” so you can quit campaigning.
Ricky Craven? Who was really driving the Tide Taurus and roughed up Kurt Busch at Darlington? Michael, oh Michael Waltrip, what we really want to know is…. What will your post op name be?
oh well one other thing on my following my particular Chevy driver. I picked him because I was living in Atlanta and was at the 1992 race and he was new. After he became successful and it seemed that so many people hated him, well the perverse part of my nature just came out. No way I would have ever changed my mind because I took so much heat for my choice, well it just made me dig in more.
and i took heat for being a fan of the intimidator. and when gordon came into cup all 3 fans hated that rainbow car and driver. of course the intimidator is gone, gordon is older and i’ve mellowed over the past 14 yrs since 2001. hopefully we’ll have a safe 3 remaining races and gordon will ride off into the sunset to enjoy retirement and the next phase of his life. i so often wonder what dale would have done. i believe he would had won #8 and retired at the banquet. that’s what i like to believe. really sad to say that gordon is one of the remaining active drivers that raced against dale and the rest of that crew (wallace, rudd, jarrett, both labontes, the burtons) dang things have changed in 14 yrs.
I blame Nascar for much of this mess. Trying to ‘eliminate’ drivers while still having them on the track is stupid. Having an entire season come down to a one race deal under these conditions is even MORE stupid. As you point out, under a season long title format Joey would still have the lead, which makes the whole Kenseth episode much les potentially damaging. On the other hand, Matt certainly found a way to get his sponsor lots of TV time. Does anyone remember that Jamie McMurry finished 2nd? Tony had a top 10 finish? No, because the stupid chase has been allowed to overshadow all. Nice move, Nascar. Now dig yourself out of the hole you created.
Long ago I learned the First Rule of Holes. When you find you are in one…STOP DIGGING!
Welll, all-righty then. At 6PM NASCAR handed down penalty for Kenseth….a two race suspension……some thoughts……
Really? How was this worse than what Gordon did to Bowyer at Phoenix in 2012? How is it is worse than Kyle Busch’s on track mugging of Hornaday under caution in the truck series?
Hmmm….was the timing of the announcement geared so that NBCSN’s nightly NASCAR show would break the news first in exchange for the channel’s carrying NASCAR’s sword on Sunday saying this was the worst thing ever to happen to the sport?
Erik Jones will fill in for Kenseth on Sunday if Kenseth can’t race. Odd. You’d have thought he’d want to concentrate on the truck series title given that he’s only 10 points ahead of Reddick and 13 ahead of Crafton. But, hey, what’s the worse that can happen moonlighting in another series where you can’t earn points. Ask Kyle Busch.
Two, races huh? So JGR appeals and the appeal probably won’t be heard until next week so he’d race at Texas. If he loses the appeal and appeals it to the Supreme Grand Poobah of NASCAR (as Johnson and the 48 bunch have done several times) and he races again at Phoenix waiting for that appeal….if the ruling goes against him (and he’s no Jimmie Johnson) he’ll miss Homestead….AND the 2016 Daytona 500. I don’t see Joe Gibbs being willing to gamble on that one.
I don’t think they will make that second appeal Matt. No way they let that linger into next year.
I suppose the difference between 2012 and 2015 was the new elimination style chase. or maybe they just spin a wheel with various penalties on it and it landed on “2 race suspension” this year while in 2012 it landed on “$100,000 and 25 points”. Either is plausible.
Yeah, Matt … I mean … … … uh … yeah, which is worse? Why did NA$CAR decide now is the right time to “enforce the ‘rules'” … yeah, WHAT rules?
Speaking of Gordon … I do recall in a race called the SOUTHERN 500 that was run on a day called LABOR DAY in a far-away place called DARLINGTON USA when one year another feller named Gordon … that being Cecil “Flash” … did not take too kindly to a rookie by the name of Larry Smith (may both these gentlemen Rest In Peace …) putting him into the guard rail … … and as it came to past, Cecil “Flash” then repaired his battered machine (and in those days when one said “the driver repaired …” he really DID!) with the sole intent of getting back in the race to settle the score with young Mr. Smith … … and attempt, he did … … ‘cept NASCAR … being much wiser in those days (I believe this was BIG Bill’s last Southern 500 at the helm) … decided it best to call for the Caution Flag just so they get a certain Yeller car with a Blue 24 on it off the track before he imparted mayhem upon #92 … … … yeah … the more things change … … … THE MORE THINGS CHANGE!!
Matt … I’ll “see” your 1988 … … and raise you a 19-SEVENTY-8!!
Keep up the good work!!
Your Dead/Parrot/head Springsteen lovin’ Blue Ribbon drinkin’ Scottish chess playin’ Southern cousin-from-another-uncle!
Wait a damn minute!! Ya’ll forget the “Special Needs Of The Business” section 66.6 of the rule book whereas profits from the show will not suffer at any cost. 66.6 was recently invoked allowing the Busches into the chase and more recently kept Harvick in the playoffs. I hesitate to say that BZF could surprise me anymore but, I would be surprised if under any circumstance the 20 didn’t run Daytona ’16.
Guess King Brainless must have had Logano in his Fantasy Racing team last weekend and must have the Princess in his team this weekend. I think I’ll stick to football only this weekend.
Best article I’ve read on this incident! Keep up the good work ! LD71 :D