By admin | March 6, 2011
By Richard Allen
Matt Kenseth exhibits what seems to be one of the calmest and most mild mannered demeanors of any driver in NASCAR. But don’t be fooled. The Wisconsin native is one of the hardest driving wheel men on the track. And whenever a driver races hard, he is bound to run afoul of his fellow competitors from time to time.
During his Sprint Cup career the 2003 champion has had some well documented incidents with other drivers. There was the You Tube sensation of Carl Edwards throwing, and almost landing, a punch in Kenseth’s direction during a post-race meeting in Martinsville. Jeff Gordon aggressively let Kenseth know how he felt after a race one afternoon in Bristol. And Kenseth and Jamie McMurray had a couple of get-togethers on cool down laps a few years back.
As stated above, when a driver races hard these type of things are to be expected. And virtually all of Kenseth’s clashes have been over issues at the front of the pack rather than at the rear, which is also a good thing.
However, over the last two weeks the Roush Fenway Racing driver has added two more names to the list who may not be sending him Christmas cards this December.
In Phoenix, Brian Vickers was convinced that Kenseth had “door slammed” him during the early portion of that race which eventually led to a crash. Even after video evidence seemed to indicate that contact was minimal, Vickers remained adamant that his new found foe had done him in. Whether the contact was intentional or not, Vickers perception is what matters.
Kenseth went on to finish 12th in Phoenix while Vickers ended up 30th.
On Sunday in Las Vegas, another driver credited Kenseth with making his day worse than it should have been. Late in the event as both drivers were racing to overcome earlier deficits, Trevor Bayne’s Ford received a nudge from the Ford driven by Kenseth. Bayne wobbled and brushed the wall as Kenseth drove away.
Kenseth eventually placed 11th and Bayne was 20th.
Later, Bayne commented on twitter, “Welllll after all the battles today I guess we’ll take a top 20! Pit road penalty got us.. And the 17 didn’t help us much either.”
Matt Kenseth may on the outside seem like the last guy other drivers would have a problem with. But there is a growing list of Sprint Cup drivers who might very well disagree with that assessment. In the end, most of these incidents seem to be the result of hard racing. Ultimately, there is little wrong with that.
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