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Martin owed Junior no apology nor did Edwards owe Kenseth

By admin | March 11, 2012

By Richard Allen


Two separate incidents during the Kobalt Tools 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway definitely stirred some interest among fans and competitors and also caused some to believe apologies were owed. But in neither case was any apology owed to anyone. Both instances were simply cases of drivers doing what they ought to do and that’s to race hard.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got off to a great start in the race after beginning the day from the front row when 2nd place qualifier Kyle Busch was sent to the rear for having to pull out a backup car due to a practice crash. Junior took the lead immediately and led for a number of laps.

However, after a pit stop placed him back in the pack, the driver of Hendrick Motorsports car #88 was never able to get back to the front. As the race drew toward its conclusion, Earnhardt found himself embroiled in a hotly contested battle with Mark Martin for a position within the top-10.

Martin had been employing a low line through turns one and two while Junior ran high in that set of turns. As the two cars drove onto the backstretch, Martin had a clear path to the outside wall and moved up the track. Junior, who had momentum coming off the high groove, ran up to the back of Martin’s Michael Waltrip Racing car and tagged its rear bumper. That contact resulted in Martin’s car swerving into the outside wall and losing momentum, and positions.

On his in-car radio, Junior was very upset. Apparently his view was that Martin should not have moved up, but instead, should have stayed low and left the outside lane clear.

Martin and his spotter saw things differently. “I was clear of the 88 and he just hit us in the back and knocked us sideways,” the veteran driver said over his radio. “I did nothing wrong.”

The 55 car’s spotter added, “He didn’t use his momentum to go under us. He just drove into us.”

It looked as if Martin’s view of the incident was correct. He was clear to his outside. It’s not like he squeezed Junior into the wall. Junior hit him squarely in the back quite a way down the backstretch.

If post-race reports are correct, Junior sought Martin after the race. Either he hoped to receive an admission of guilt from Martin or at least an explanation. But the truth of the matter is, this was just hard racing. No one should ever apologize for that, but especially the guy who got hit in the back.

The race’s other controversial incident involved essentially the entire Roush Fenway Racing organization.

On the race’s final restart, Carl Edwards went low in an attempt to gain positions by going three-wide around teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. The #99 car did get around the other two Fords but Edwards had trouble getting his car to stick when the cars made it to turns one and two. Kenseth got into the back of Edwards then had his car ‘sucked’ around and pulled into the outside wall.

After the race, Edwards reportedly went to the garage to apologize to Kenseth. While this may have been a nice gesture among teammates, it was not really necessary. This was not a restrictor plate race and there should have been no agreement for the cars stay lined up nose to tail.

Edwards was just trying to gain positions late in the race and he did nothing that could be considered dirty. It was just hard racing.

The Kobalt Tools 400 was lacking in noteworthy action throughout most of the event. Finally, at the end of the race there were drivers who were fighting for positions. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

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13 Responses to “Martin owed Junior no apology nor did Edwards owe Kenseth”

  1. Russ Says:
    March 11th, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Interesting isn’t it that we complain about a lack of action. Yet when there is some people cry foul. Interesting, but you can’t have it both ways.

  2. Charles Says:
    March 11th, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    If the TV cameras would start showing more ’sideview’ of the racing, instead of seemly showing ‘cars coming at you’ and ‘cars leaving you’…some of action like this would be easier to see!

    I get tired of see grilles and rear ends of race cars on a track..where you cannot recondize the cars unless a replay comes on to reshow it at another angle! with sponsors changes weekly all the different color schemes make it hard to know who car it is!

    They install numbers for a reason…would like some more ‘closeup’ camera action as well..need binoculars just to see on TV now!

  3. Bill B Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 8:00 am

    It’s a shame that restarts are the only time most cars can pass on a 1.5 track. Once cars get strung out there is very little passing.

  4. oldirtracker Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Any way you look at it this was a snoozer!!!!!!!!!

  5. Overra88ted Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Dale Jr. just flat ran out of talent and hit Martin in the ear. Remember when Jr. rear ended his own DEI teammate on the STRAIGHTAWAY at CMS in the 2005 Coke 600?

  6. Michael in SoCal Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Bill B is right on about these boring 1.5 - 2.0 mile ovals. It’s not the COT that will kill Nascar, it’s the boring cookie cutter ovals.

  7. Greg Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Never saw the JR and MM incident , and why is it if you watch NASCARS Racebuddy on line you get GREAT camera work , yet FOX camera layout looks more like traffic cameras.

    Figured the WALNUT brothers would have lots to say about the 88 & 55 bump but it was surprisingly quiet :)

  8. Taz Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Get Direct Tv they have Nascar race pass where 5 camera’s are in 5 different cars each week. You can hear race talk from the drivers even some language not broadcast on regular tv and you can see side passing.

  9. Offkilter Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Overated on #5 post, talent was no issue at all between the 88 & the 15 deal. Junior jacked him up on purpose. As far as something that happened a half a decade ago at Charlotte… thats a pretty lame arguement if you are having to recollect back that far.

  10. sylvia richardson Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    GO MARK. DRIVE YOUR OWN RACE. What i saw was JR running over MARK

  11. Overra88ted Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Offkilter…. “As far as something that happened a half a decade ago”…..Are you talking about Dale Jr. last “real” race win? “Thats a pretty lame arguement if you are having to recollect back that far.”

  12. Offkilter Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Overated, to answer your question, no. There was never any discussion over a race win anywhere in these posts. We were talking about incidents on the track. Keep up, pal, and back up your half-baked spouts before changing the point.

  13. The Bear Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Rich, Maybe you should get off of the computer and TV and attend a race once in a while! I agree with the comments on the Jr. and Martin part for the most part,That was all Jr. (and I do respect Jr.).But the Edwards/ Biffle/Kenseth/Edwards part is way off! I watched the whole thing unfold right in front of me,(I have seats going into turn one,where it all started) and Carl was way over his talent level! He didn’t have a good car all day,and proved it at the end by messing up finishes for all three cars that were better than his was!! All of the other three ran good,and all he could think about was his EGO! He didn’t have the car capable of winning,so he shafted the one’s that did have a chance at winning!!Especially Kenseth who had proven he had the best Roush car all day!Hooray for “Biff”,he came out on top. “The CUZ just proved what a idiot he is!!!