Joey Logano had his opinion on what happened late in the Goody’s 500 Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
“It was a complete coward move,” Logano said. “It’s a chicken you-know-what move.”
Matt Kenseth had his take, too.
“I couldn’t get (my car) to turn and ran Joey over,” Kenseth said. “Some days you’re the bat. Some days you’re the ball.”
The drivers were responding to a late-race accident in which Kenseth, who was several laps down at the time, knocked Logano into the first-turn wall, ending the day for both drivers.
It was an apparent retaliation from Kenseth to Logano, who had knocked Kenseth out of the way on his way to winning at Kansas two weeks ago. The victory was Logano’s second in the Chase and all but knocked Kenseth out of title contention.
Kenseth took responsibility but wasn’t ready to say Sunday’s crash was intentional.
“It was definitely my fault,” he said. “There are people who say a lot of things. We had a disappointing end to our Chase and he’s (Joey Logano) got a couple races left. He’s got the best car, he might get a couple of wins here and still have a shot at it.”
NASCAR summoned Kenseth, crew chief Jason Ratcliff and team owner Joe Gibbs after the race. Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, wouldn’t say what transpired in the meeting.
“We were disappointed with what took place,” said O’Donnell. “There’s always a lot to digest about what happened. We’ll have more conversations and have any announcement – if anything – on Tuesday.
“It was disappointing to us that a driver who was not competing for a win, many laps down, did something like that. In our minds, that's a little bit different than two drivers really going after it coming out of Turn 4 for a win versus what happened (Sunday). But we’ll look at this incident as a one-off that we’ll look at.”
Fans cheered Kenseth when he emerged from his No. 20 Toyota in Turn 1. He said he doesn’t know if Logano might return the favor in a future race.
“I don’t know; I feel like every week is a new week,” said Kenseth. “You never like to be in these situations. They really stink, but sometimes you get put in these spots and you’ve got to try to keep respect in the garage area. You can’t get yourself run over. You can’t get in the Chase next year and get run over for the same reason. Like I said, I hate the way it ended.”
Logano, whose father Tom had to be restrained from going after Kenseth later, wasn’t buying that.
“His race was over,” Logano said. “It was actually a really coward move for a race car driver to do that, essentially someone as mature and an experienced race car driver that knows what this is all about.”
One interested observer was race winner Jeff Gordon, who saw the whole incident unfold in front of him.
“I put myself in Matt’s shoes,” said Gordon. “I could relate to the frustration getting the best of you. I understand that. Now he might have some regrets later, but I understand why he made that choice in the moment.
“What you say, how you say it and the things you do, they all come full circle. That’s on both sides of it.”