There was a big question going into the Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, whether or not Matt Kenseth would send payback to one Joey Logano.
The driver of the No. 20 promised payback following the Oct. 18 race at Kansas Speedway. At Talladega on Oct. 25, Logano made a bold move cutting off Kenseth during a cycle of green flag pit stops. This week it was Kenseth who returned the favor.
On Lap 453, the tide turned for the No. 22 team. After leading 207 of the first 453 laps, Kenseth found himself behind Logano heading into Turn 1 with the optimal decision on whether or not to pay Logano back. He deliberately pulled over to let Logano go and drove his damaged Toyota into Turn 1 and wrecked Logano.
“It was just a complete coward move, especially by a championship driver and race team” Logano after being taken out by Kenseth. “Just a complete coward. It’s a chicken you know what move to completely take out the leader when your race is over.”
NASCAR red-flagged the race and pulled the No. 20 car from the remainder of the race if they were able to return.
The prior caution came out when Kenseth was spun when making contact with the other driver from Team Penske, Brad Keselowski and also tagging Chase driver Kurt Busch into the wall. Thus leading to the beginning of the end for both Logano and Kenseth in Martinsville.
“Some days you’re the bat, some days you’re the ball, it’s never any fun when you’re the ball,” Kenseth said about the incident. “The splitter was dragging things down and we got into the corner and unfortunately ruined his day. He’s got the best car, he has a couple of races left to till have a shot at it (championship). Certainly disappointed that it came down to that.”
After parking the Joe Gibbs Racing team for the remaining 47 laps in Martinsville, NASCAR had a meeting with Kenseth, crew chief Jason Ratcliff and car-owner Joe Gibbs.
“I think in general you saw a terrific race today,” said the Executive Vice President of NASCAR Steve O’Donnell. When you talk about the incident between that took place with Matt, in our estimation that was a driver who was a number of laps down and we still have some things to look at it, but we were disappointed with what took place. When you look at Kansas, that was two drivers going for a win and really competing. In this instance, it’s a driver multiple laps down who looked like may have waited and came up on the leader and we all saw what happened. I would say it’s a little different with two drivers going for a win.
It’s too early to speculate on what if there will be any repercussions for Kenseth in the coming weeks. If he is facing any penalty it will be announced on Tuesday, the day in which NASCAR announces all of its weekly penalties.