By admin | April 7, 2010
By Richard Allen
We are only six races into the NASCAR Sprint Cup season for 2010 and there are already a number of scores that may need to be settled. Perhaps the first night race of the year will be the time for getting even. It seems as though tempers are more apt to flare when sparks are clearly visible against the darkened night skies.
The Subway Fresh Fit 600 this Saturday night, as well as Fridayâ€™s Nationwide race, at the Phoenix International Raceway may provide the perfect settings for a little wild west style justice to be doled out.
So far in the 2010 NASCAR season there have been harsh words exchanged, cars spun out and even one car sent flying into the catch fencing. The last two short track events seem to have brought some of that activity to a fever pitch.
The last race in Martinsville saw two of NASCARâ€™s more reserved superstars, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon, get involved in a late race bumping match which was followed by a bit of verbal sparring.
By the tone of Gordonâ€™s post race interview in Martinsville he seemed more concerned with keeping Kenseth from winning than he was in winning for himself. And perhaps more intriguing was the fact that he went on to say he was not even sure at the time it was Kenseth who had initially bumped him and that he would apologize if he had been wrong in retaliating against said driver.
Kenseth, for his part, later stated that he was growing a bit tired of being knocked out of good finishes by Gordon.
These two have had their run-ins before. A post race shove in Bristol and a late race spin in Chicago come readily to mind.
How about Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick? These two have engaged in some verbal wrestling of their own over the last few weeks. Of course, they have engaged in actual wrestling before as well. According to their recent quotations, Edwards is a fake and Harvick is not a good person. So needless to say, there is no love lost here.
And, of course, there was the most publicized â€˜have at itâ€™ incident of the year when Edwards spun Brad Keselowski in Atlanta. As has been well documented, Keselowskiâ€™s car flipped wildly. This incident came on the heels of a number of bumping matches between the two over the past couple of years in more than one series. For his part, Edwards did not hide the fact that he spun Keselowski on purpose and Keselowski was openly miffed at NASCARâ€™s light punishment for the incident.
In two separate Nationwide Series races this year, Joey Logano has been sent for a late race ride in the spin cycle by Keselowski and Harvick(funny how the same names keep popping up in this piece). At some point, Logano has to retaliate or face a lifetime of being pushed around.
So will there be any paybacks under the lights in Phoenix this weekend? Some drivers almost certainly feel as they owe others. And itâ€™s funny how often those who have had issues find themselves running with their biggest nemesis during the course of a race. I donâ€™t know if there is supposed to be a full moon anytime in the next few days or not, but there may not have to be.
Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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