A few weeks ago NASCAR drivers Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano were racing for the win at Kansas Speedway. Matt Kenseth blocked the faster Logano and Logano charged to move him out of the way and win the race. This is the type of racing fans want and NASCAR wants for the fans. In a way this is the ultimate NASCAR; the faster car racing the slower car at the end of a race for the win.
Fast forward a couple weeks. Matt Kenseth races hard at Martinsville Speedway even though he is now out of the hunt for the Sprint Cup Championship; not directly from the events at Kansas but Kansas didn’t help. He is having a great day at arguably one of the toughest tracks in NASCAR. He races to the front along with Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski.
In spite of this being the “Knock out Chase” with both Penske teammates in it. Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski were working together. Logano took the outside line on the restarts expecting Keselowski who restarted in second to let him in in the front. They did just that; the ultimate teammate play. In a way not teammates have every worked that hard together in such a critical race.
“I got hit from behind and pushed me into the 20 and my right-front wheel hit Kenseth’s left-rear and it just broke the right-front suspension off the car.” Keselowski added, “The car wouldn’t turn and just kept going straight until I couldn’t do anything and I started wrecking everybody. I just didn’t have any steering wheel left.”
After that Matt Kenseth had had enough! When he got back on the track and was laps down after Logano, who was the race leader passed him, Kenseth drove in deep and got into the left rear corner of Logano and drove him into the corner, ending his day and possibly his Championship contention.
I love NASCAR, I love payback but there is a fine line where payback becomes bad sportsmanship. This was that pure and simple. There is a difference between making it difficult for a competitor and driving them into the wall.
“Yeah. I think what happened at Kansas is a completely different deal. We were racing for the win and he blocks you a few times and then we raced hard and he blocked me the last time and we spun out. That’s what happened there.” Logano added, “Here it was just a complete coward move, especially for a championship race car driver and race team. Just a complete coward. I don’t have anything else to say. It’s a chicken-you-know-what move to completely take out the leader when your race is over.”
I could leave it at that but Matt Kenseth didn’t own up to it. Whether you like it or not respect can also come from owning up to what happened. He didn’t, he put a spin on it.
Kenseth said, “Well it’s a really disappointing day. I thought we were going to have a shot at the win there and they were jacking up the restart real bad to let each other in as teammates which is fine and I probably went in there and I got on the other side of Joey (Logano) and I was going to try to race him for the win and Brad (Keselowski) wiped me out for some reason. I’m not really sure why. And then we had so much damage on the right front I should have probably just put it in the garage and just got into (turn) 1 and couldn’t get it to turn and ran Joey over. So, disappointing ending for sure.”
Make no mistake about it. Joey Logano has taken it to them. He has won the last three races, qualified on the pole for this race, led the most laps and was on the way to win a record breaking four races in a row. Matt Kenseth made no friends here. The only thing he can feel good about is putting Jeff Gordon into contention for the Championship at Homestead Miami in three weeks.
Feature Photo Credit: 313897 Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images