NASCAR Must Do Something on Tuesday

What I saw at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday made me sick to my stomach. It ruined what otherwise was a good weekend at the track, the marvelous speedway that should be a blueprint for what racing should be. Everyone knows the story by now. Matt Kenseth decided to retaliate and knock the leader out of the race—on purpose. You may say I can’t prove that, but actions speak louder than words.

I’ve been following this sport longer than many people have been alive. I’ve seen retaliation, but nothing on this scale. I can’t remember an action that changed the entire championship situation just to get even. Before you say Dale Earnhardt did it or Carl Edwards did it, that is not the case. Earnhardt’s actions were usually going for a win. This was blatant and uncalled for.

It all started last year. The altercations started when the usually mild-mannered Kenseth chased Brad Keselowski and put him in a headlock over relatively minor rubbing. Several drivers applauded that action and others against the opposition drivers. It started to boil when Kenseth was spun by Joey Logano at Kansas Speedway two weeks ago. Kenseth never got over it, said he wouldn’t talk to Logano, and continued with some pointed radio transmissions at Talladega. It was eating him alive.

During Sunday’s race on a restart, Keselowski was tagged from behind trying to let teammate Logano get back to the lead and Kenseth got tagged. These were basically racing accidents, but Kenseth could not let it go and planned his revenge. In the later stages of the race, with Logano leading and pulling away, Kenseth took his disabled car back into the fray. Going slow, he waited until Logano passed on the outside and turned directly into him, shoving him up to the wall and destroying his Ford Fusion and probably taking him out of the championship picture. He used the excuse that a tire went down and he couldn’t turn his car. Sitting in the press box looking down on the track and the accident just below me, that wasn’t the case. It was revenge and something that should not be a part of the sport I’ve loved for a half century.

NASCAR needs to act swiftly and put an end to this. Part of the problem is the elimination feature of The Chase. Drivers will do things that they probably wouldn’t otherwise, but this crossed a very narrow line. Kenseth should be parked this weekend at Texas, levied a hefty fine and docked championship points. This cannot continue if the sport wants to remain professional and draw fans. Larry McReynolds, who was crew chief for Dale Earnhardt simply said it best today on Dave Moody’s Speedway show on SiriusXM radio.

“If they only give him (Kenseth) probation, which means absolutely nothing, I’m going to the nearest trash can and throw up,” McReynolds said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Fleshman
Ron Fleshman
Ron Fleshman has followed NASCAR racing since attending his first race at Martinsville Speedway in 1964. He joined the Motor Sports Forum on the CompuServe network in the 1980s and became a reporter for Racing Information Systems in 1994. In 2002, he was named NASCAR Editor for RIS when it appeared on the World Wide Web as He can now be found at Ron is a member of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. You can find Ron following and reporting on the top three NASCAR divisions each week. As a lifer in his support of racing, he attends and reports on nearly 30 events a year and as a member of the motor sports media, his passion has been racing for 47 years. He lives with his family in rural West Virginia and works in the insurance industry when not on the road to another track.

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  1. What sport have you been following? NASCAR commercials and PR was hyping how Martinsville could be payback time. Everyone in the world could see it was payback time. Only you and Joey had no clue it was a possibility. Hey part of the sport since day one. Larry Renolds and Kyle Petty are funny hypocrites. Yeah Nascar will do something because all of you media whiners. Ask the fans to vote. Not all you know it all media type.

  2. Hypocrites you and McReynolds. Are you too old to remember Gordon doing the same and NASCAR let him win the race the next week, but it said Gordon on the door?

  3. “I’ve been following this sport longer than many people have been alive.”

    …and THIS made you sick to your stomach? Geez, you have a real selective memory.


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