Just when Matt Kenseth thought it was safe to have Jeff Gordon on his back bumper he learned that sometimes paybacks are hell. Kenseth was within a few laps of the win, when Gordon dumped him to make the pass for the lead. Kenseth got loose and...
Just when Matt Kenseth thought it was safe to have Jeff Gordon on his back bumper he learned that sometimes paybacks are hell. Kenseth was within a few laps of the win, when Gordon dumped him to make the pass for the lead.
Kenseth got loose and spun into the infield grass, causing a caution and a green/white/checkered finish. While the race fans at Chicagoland greeted Gordon's win with a cacophony of boos as trash rained down from the grandstands. Gordon was not that apologetic.
"I certainly didn't mean to wreck him but I didn't mind moving him out of the way either," commented Gordon.
He did, however, defend his actions by pointing out that if he had wanted to move Kenseth to earn a position he would have done it on the restart prior to the one where Kenseth actually spun.
"If I wanted to just wreck him I could have done it on that restart," explained Gordon. "Our bumpers touched and I checked up to not wreck him.
"I want to win fair and square. I hate that he spun I think we had a car capable of winning the race."
Gordon and Kenseth have had a bumpy season. In Bristol, after Kenseth was punted by Kurt Busch, Kenseth inadvertently dumped Gordon costing him a top ten finish. When Kenseth approached Gordon post race to apologize, the four time champ shoved Kenseth. For the push he was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until August 30th. It was the first time in Gordon's career that the sanctioning body has had to penalize him for any conduct related issue. Apparently, Jeff Gordon doesn't have the most forgiving disposition and a very long memory. For Kenseth, who led a race high 112 laps before his day fell to pieces, he was clear that Gordon's tap was intentional. He was annoyed but reticent.
"That wasn't an accident," said Kenseth. "The last one was an accident, the first one wasn't. He just ran over me. On the restart he was hanging back and NASCAR has a rule you can't hang back two car lengths or one car length, although I've never seen in enforced.
"But he was hanging back because I was a little weak on restarts, and trying to get to me and then I could drive away. Or, apparently he was mad because I blocked him on that restart when he got a run, but I don't know."
When Kenseth was told that Gordon had stated that this matter was not left over from Bristol, he dismissed it as poppycock.
"Do you think him being on probation, he will say that it was?" asked Kenseth. "It was so. He did it. Nothing I can't do about it."
Second place finisher Jeff Burton and several other drivers were surprised that Gordon wasn't flagged for rough driving by NASCAR. Earlier today in the driver's meeting, NASCAR President Mike Helton warned that racers should buckle up for harsher penalties and fines for cheating and for on track incidents.
Burton, when witnessing the Gordon/Kenseth incident on TV in the infield media center winced, "Well. There is going to be retribution for that one."
Now it is Gordon's turn to watch his back and sweat out when Kenseth will chose to level his revenge.