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« Pit blunders cost Mark Martin and Kurt Busch | Main | What NASCAR driver has scored a top-10 in all six 2010 starts? »

Kenseth and Gordon ‘have at it’ the right way

By admin | March 29, 2010

By Richard Allen

When NASCAR said in the off season that they were going to allow their drivers to ‘have at it’, the late race driving by Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon is probably what they had in mind. The two veteran drivers raced each hard and clean for much of the day during the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 in Martinsville. But during the last few laps of that race, the intensity between the former champions picked up.

Gordon came within yards of winning the race. As he led the event coming to the white flag, Kyle Busch spun. Had the #24 car passed the finish line the race would have ended after he coasted back around to take the checkered flag. However, he was just short of the mark which resulted in a green/white/checkered finish.

On the final restart, Gordon and Ryan Newman made up the front row with Kenseth and Denny Hamlin in row two.

Gordon got a good jump and pulled ahead of Kenseth by a car length or more. The #17 Ford drove hard into turn one and tagged the rear bumper of the #24 Chevrolet. As the two raced side by side down the back stretch, Gordon moved over to make contact with Kenseth. The two cars looked as if they were stuck together at the entry of turn three until Kenseth nosed ahead only to be tapped in the right rear by Gordon. The #17 went way wide through turns three and four and fell back in the pack.

“I made sure he wasn’t going to win the race after that,” Gordon said of his retaliatory contact with Kenseth.

This was simply a case of two drivers racing each other the way they got raced which is what ‘having at it’ is all about. Drivers are supposed to race hard for the win and not just be willing to settle in and accept a ‘good points day’ as has so often been the case in recent years.

NASCAR received criticism after the Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski incident in Atlanta. This is the type of racing fans pay to see. Granted, depending on whether you are a Kenseth or Gordon fan will influence your thoughts as to who was at fault, but no doubt, most fans enjoyed the competition.

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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

5 Responses to “Kenseth and Gordon ‘have at it’ the right way”

  1. Tom Says:
    March 29th, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Well said. A great finish. It Gordon or Kenseth would have won, that would have ended up being one of the top finishes in probably the last decade.

  2. Gina Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Both of them are great drivers. Its a shame that NASCAR needed to contrive itself a great finish with its GWC by not showing Gordon the white flag when they should have. Welcome to the WWE on wheels.

  3. Joe W. Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I agree with Gina. I like both Matt and Jeff and would have been happy if either of them won the race, but by having the G/W/C they handed the race to Hamlin. I guess they wanted to help Toyota out some more. But in all fairness I never liked Hamlin even in a Chevy.

  4. midasmicah Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    As a Burton fan, I was so disappointed when he cut that tire. But he cut the tire trying to win the race. He could have (maybe should have) stayed back and took home a good finish. Actually I’m glad he tried to win the race.

  5. Marybeth Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    After what Kenseth did to Jr. in the pits all day, I was good with seeing JG punt him and he ended up behind Jr.’s 15th place finish. :) What goes around, comes around.
    How about we move the current Martinsville date to April…& move this current M’ville date to the new ‘little Rock’, which is a little further south…?