As much as Matt Kenseth might not want to admit it, his racing run-in with Joey Logano during last week’s Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway remains a sore subject.
During a news conference Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, Kenseth said he still isn’t convinced that Logano didn’t intentionally bump him out of the way to win the race. Kenseth was leading at the time, but finished 14th after the Logano-induced spin late in the race.
Logano has said he didn’t deliberately wreck Kenseth, but that it was also part of racing and nothing for which he would apologize.
“Yeah, some day he might mature a little bit,” Kenseth, 43, said of Logano, 25. “But, first of all, he should have stopped running his mouth. And he’s lying when he said he didn’t do it on purpose because he lifted (my) tires off the ground. He’s too good a race car driver to do that by accident.”
... (Logano’s) lying when he said he didn’t do it on purpose ...
Kenseth, 12th in the Chase standings, needs to either move into the top eight or win Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 to advance into the next round of the playoffs. Logano, with two victories in this round of the Chase, is guaranteed a spot in the final eight.
Kenseth said the imposing challenge facing him at Talladega, along with the Logano incident, haven’t caused him to worry.
“No, I’ve been in a great mood,” said Kenseth, who added he and Logano haven’t communicated this week. “I’ve had a lot of fun. (There’s) nothing to be mad about or be in a bad mood about. Just looking forward to carving pumpkins (Saturday) with (my daughters).”
Kenseth said he felt he was within his rights to keep Logano’s faster car from passing by blocking him. Logano later said Kenseth forced him into scraping the wall as he tried to catch him.
Kenseth needs to either move into the top eight or win at Talladega to advance into the next round of the playoffs.
“I wouldn’t have done anything differently because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Kenseth said. “I did everything I was supposed to do. I tried to get away. He (Logano) drove the car in the wall himself twice. I don’t know how you can possibly … block someone or put somebody in the wall when they’re not up alongside you. It’s pretty talented if you can do that when somebody’s 4 feet behind you.
“So, no, I did everything I could to win the race. That’s the way I’d race to win any race. (That’s) to race hard as you can and do whatever you can, be clean about it and go as fast as I could go. That’s all I was doing. I got hit from behind. I couldn’t do anything about that. I couldn’t change that.”
The issue of whether blocking – as Kenseth was attempting to do – is a legitimate tactic has long been one of NASCAR’s gray areas.
“I haven’t seen a rule in the rulebook yet against blocking, so I’m going to say it’s always allowed,” said Brad Keselowski, Logano’s Team Penske teammate. “Then you might get into some other garbage about driver codes. But I’ve never seen a rule against blocking – not one that’s been enforced.”
Said Kenseth: “I think somebody trying to keep their position if they’re leading a race, that’s their job to try to get in the lane you’re in, especially when you’re not even up alongside of somebody.”
NASCAR chairman Brian France even had an opinion on Logano’s bump, calling it a “quintessential” NASCAR move during a radio interview this week.
To which Kenseth replied, in jest: “I don’t know what that word means, I wasn’t very good in high school. Once I learn what that means, then I can probably answer that better.”