By Jared Turner
Matt Kenseth felt he was justified in wrecking Joey Logano on Nov. 1 at Martinsville Speedway.
In Kenseth’s mind, there wasn’t a lot of difference in what he did to Logano and what Logano had done to him while the two battled for the lead two weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway.
Of course, NASCAR rightfully disagreed and issued Kenseth a two-race suspension for his Martinsville actions – which were deliberate, premeditated and, frankly, just wrong.
So has Kenseth, who returns to the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for this weekend’s season finale, come to see the error of his ways? Would he do things differently if given the opportunity?
It doesn’t sound like it.
In an interview last week with the Associated Press, the 2003 Sprint Cup Series champion defended his decision to take Logano out and exact revenge on the Team Penske driver.
”I really stand by my actions,” Kenseth told the AP. ”I feel like there’s a breaking point. It wasn’t just about being mad; it was about getting this fixed. It was time to make it stop.”
Kenseth went on to say he also took issue with how Logano reacted in the aftermath of their Kansas collision by being unapologetic. Further fueling Kenseth’s fury was NASCAR chairman Brian France condemning Kenseth’s actions toward Logano but coining Logano’s bump on Kenseth at Kansas as “quintessential NASCAR.”
So does Kenseth have a right to be upset? Yes, perhaps.
It can be argued that the 2-race suspension was too stiff of a penalty, since similar incidents involving other drivers in the past haven’t resulted in a consequence as severe as Kenseth’s.
However, to show no remorse after being benched for two weeks probably isn’t the best strategy for ever mending fences with Logano, a driver Kenseth will inevitably have to race with for several more years.
Moreover, Kenseth’s refusal to be the least bit apologetic certainly can’t sit well with France and NASCAR’s other top brass.
It’s one thing to make a point and stand up for yourself.
It’s another thing to make comments that could put your sponsors and team in a bad light, and have a detrimental effect on your future in the sport.
Perhaps Kenseth should consider this the next time he speaks – even if means not expressing his true feelings.