When NASCAR suspended Matt Kenseth two races for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway, many felt the sanctioning body sent a message to the garage area about what is and is not allowed on the track.
With NASCAR coming down hard on Kenseth last week, is there a clear line between “Boys, have at it” and “anything goes?” Or will the threat of a suspension change how drivers handle themselves behind the wheel when dealing with a rival?
“It’s hard to comment. You get kind of caught up in the moment sometimes,” Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. said Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. “I’ve done things that I regret before, on the race track, and it never got me in a position like what we’ve seen this week. But, I think I guess the implications aren’t really clear on how things work and what kind of trouble you can get yourself into.
“Racing is racing,” he said. “Guys have wrecked each other since racing started, okay? That’s not going to change. Guys get mad all the time. I think that people will go about it differently now because of what happened this week, for sure. How far that goes, I’m not real sure. We’ll have to wait and see.”
For Logano’s teammate, “Blazingly Bad” Brad Keselowski, who has been in a number of on-track and off-track controversies of his own, he is not going to change how he handles himself behind the wheel.
“Nobody should have to tell you that what happened at Martinsville was wrong and if someone has to tell you then you should have never made it this far in the sport,” he said very adamantly after winning the pole on Friday evening.
Four-time champion Jeff Gordon said on Friday he understands why NASCAR made an example of Kenseth, saying it was a clear message to the garage.
“NASCAR wanted there to be a line and I like it when they draw a line because so often when we hear about judgment calls, we don’t like judgment calls,” said Gordon. “We like things to be clear. And I think we’re all pretty clear now.
Keselowski’s crew chief Paul Wolfe agrees with Gordon that the suspension created a pretty clear line between “Boys, have at it” and “anything goes.”
“I feel that you can kind of see a line now between what’s acceptable and what’s not,” Wolfe told FOXSports.com. “Obviously we’ve seen plenty of guys get dumped or shoved out of the way when racing for position or racing on the same lap. But these two cars (Kenseth and Logano) were not racing each other for position. Is that kind of the line now? I don’t know. That’s how I look at it.
“If you’re running hard racing somebody and you dump them, I guess that’s OK. If you’re laps down, it’s probably not a good idea to dump somebody,” he added. “It’s pretty plain and simple.”
So has the line really been made clearly by NASCAR? I am not so sure.
Let me see if I have this correctly. If you are racing hard for the win then it is ok to bump, bang, drop kick, dump, or spin someone out, that would ultimately affect the outcome of The Chase, as long as you are both racing for the win. However, it is not ok to do the same above actions if you are laps down, have a chapped butt and have no chance of winning the race!
Ok, I think that I thoroughly understand that now!
UNTIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!