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« Racing at Bristol was OK but the antics will get fans back | Main | No Chase needed to assure tight points battle in any NASCAR division »

Kenseth vs. Stewart has been hot and is getting hotter

By admin | August 26, 2012

By Richard Allen

 

Both Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart are former NASCAR champions and both are among the sport’s biggest stars. However, those two things are about all they’ve had in common in 2012. For that matter, the rivalry that goes back several years has only intensified this season.

During the 2006 Daytona 500 the two drivers had contact with each other, which sent Kenseth spinning through the grass and eventually back onto the track. Afterwards, there was an exchange of hand gestures and accusations.

Kenseth called Stewart’s move across the track and into the side of his car an “intentional cheap shot” and believed the incident cost him a chance to win NASCAR’s biggest race. While for his part, Stewart claimed that Kenseth was to blame because of earlier contact between their two cars. “He started the whole thing, and I finished it,” he declared.

Since then, the perennial championship contenders have had a somewhat contentious on track relationship. And that relationship has grown hotter in 2012. Issues between the two had occurred in Sonoma, California and Indianapolis leading up to Saturday night’s explosion at the Bristol Motor Speedway.

On lap 333 of the 500 lap ‘Irwin Tools Night Race’, Kenseth was leading with Stewart closing fast. The driver of the #14 car made a bold inside move to take the top spot, sliding up in front of the #17 car in the process. Going into the next set of turns, Kenseth attempted to return the favor by diving inside of Stewart.

Coming off of turn four, the two cars slammed together and veered out of control. Eventually, they ended up banging off each other and the inside wall. Stewart was forced to go behind the pit wall for repairs while Kenseth continued on at a slower pace.

Perhaps the highlight of the incident came as Kenseth drove down pit road just as Stewart was getting out of his car. The defending Sprint Cup champion flung his helmet at Kenseth’s passing machine, seemingly using the Ford emblem on the nose of the car as a target and scoring a direct hit. Stewart then whipped his arm around in recognition of the crowd’s cheers of approval, further stirring the masses.

Stewart immediately blamed Kenseth for the wreck and offered a few pointed comments regarding his rival to waiting media members as he left the infield care center. “I’m going to run over him every chance I’ve got from now until the end of the year,” he declared.

Needless to say, Kenseth had a different view of the situation. “I’m a little confused,” he said. “I was running the top leading and he got a run and he went into turn one like I wasn’t there and just went straight to the fence. If I wouldn’t have lifted, like he chose not to do the next corner, we would have wrecked, so I let him have it and I got a run back, drove all the way alongside of him and we just kept going.

“I mean, I lifted down there or else we would have wrecked and he chose not to lift and wrecked us both, so I don’t know,” Kenseth went on. “He’s already had two in this series he’s pretty much taken us out of and I told him after Indy I was gonna race him the way he raced me and I did the exact same thing down there that he did down there – the exact same thing, except he didn’t give it to me. I guess he just wanted to do all the taking, so that’s where we ended up.”

This doesn’t sound like a problem that is going to get solved anytime soon. The rest of the season could offer some more fireworks and hot tempers between these two great drivers.

Topics: Articles |

11 Responses to “Kenseth vs. Stewart has been hot and is getting hotter”

  1. Tony Geinzer Says:
    August 26th, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Rich, I feel that Kenseth has a lot more on the line because of his Last Days at Roush and Smoke will always be Smoke.

  2. Russ Says:
    August 26th, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    One avoidable wreck and a thrown helmet are the saviors of Bristol? Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

  3. Josie Says:
    August 27th, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I’m confused on the wreck…I obviously wasn’t in a car..but it looked like Stewart passed Kenseth fairly clean..then Kenseth tried to repass Stewart inside and couldnt hold it down. In that case wouldn’t the obvious choice (to a nondriver) be for Kenseth to lift? As far as the helmet toss…NASCAR would be boneheaded if they penalize Stewart for the toss…he ruined an expensive helmet but gave the crowd a great show…which seems to be the whole point of Bristol! You can’t advertise “rough and tumble beatin and bangin”…then fine the drivers for it!

  4. dawg Says:
    August 27th, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Matt’s in a lot better spot points wise than Tony is.
    If Matt chooses he could put Tony out of the top 10.
    Tony would still make the Chase, but his 30 bonus points would be up in smoke.
    Looks to me like Tony had better watch his driving, & his mouth.
    As for the Daytons deal, I really don’t think anyone would forget when someone cuts across the entire track to intentionally take them out at 190mph.
    Tony seems to have forgotten getting parked on top of the tire wall after jacking with Vickers.

  5. Bill B Says:
    August 27th, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Seemed like just a racing deal to me. Two guys battling for the lead and neither one wanted to give in.

    I don’t think either of them have the balls to trash their own chase hopes to get even with the other once the chase starts. Could be interesting for the next two races.

  6. scott fisher Says:
    August 27th, 2012 at 11:35 am

    If Kenseth feels he did the same move as Tony did, he oughta learn how to pull a real slide job, not just run in hard side by side. That is just a battle of chicken.

  7. Jim Russell Says:
    August 27th, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Rich, thank you for being one of the few sites that offers Matt’s side of the story. Most everyone else is too busy selling the new Bristol product to care to offer both sides of the issue. As I saw the event, Matt ran at or near the front all night. Tony ran at or near the back most of the night, used free passes and wave arounds to stay on the lead lap and was at the front at the time of the wreck because of not pitting. I am both a Tony Stewart and a Matt Kenseth fan and my opinion is that this one could have been avoided and both drivers earned good finishing spots but for a lack of patience on Tony’s part.

  8. Dave Says:
    August 27th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Tony didn’t like that Matt was racing him hard, so he drove down onto him trying to pinch him out, and Matt wasn’t goign to have it, so they wrecked. Tony caused it to happen, then acts like a big baby.

  9. offkilter Says:
    August 27th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Kenseth usually doesn’t mix it up like that. Label him as a points racer or a smart racer. Either way, it made for some excitement. We probably won’t see the 17 mixing it up like that for a while unless its for the race win. Chances are he will give the 14 plenty of room the next few races because stewart is a wasp nest you don’t want to throw rocks at.

  10. Brian Says:
    August 27th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Matt’s fault all the way guys! He couldn’t hold his line and slid up to Tony. He could have lifted, let Tony go, and proceed to get him on the next corner (after gathering it back up). But no, that couldn’t happen….two hard headed racers not giving an inch. At Bristol and inch might as well be a mile! It will make for an interesting rest of the season between those two!!

  11. jeepr Says:
    August 28th, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    the fat pig just out driven and cut down on the 17

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