NASCAR chairman Brian France calls meeting with Matt Kenseth
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR chairman Brian France met Monday with Matt Kenseth three days after the suspended driver defiantly promised to remain aggressive when he returns for the season finale this weekend.
France met with Kenseth in Charlotte and “was pleased with the dialogue,” said NASCAR spokesman Brett Jewkes, who declined to disclose details of the discussion. He said attention was now being turned to the championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Kenseth was suspended two races for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano as payback for an earlier incident in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Kenseth’s action ultimately cost Logano a spot in Sunday’s title-deciding race. Kenseth was knocked out of the playoffs in part because Logano spun him while the two raced for the win at Kansas last month.
In an interview with The Associated Press last week, Kenseth stood by his actions and said he felt encouraged to retaliate because France praised Logano’s actions at Kansas as “quintessential NASCAR.” The two-time Daytona 500 winner told AP he had no regret over wrecking Logano and vowed to be more aggressive upon his return. Kenseth also noted that NASCAR officials failed to mediate the feud between Kenseth and Logano as it continued to simmer.
Kenseth found it unusual that NASCAR did not sit the drivers down, and said he felt he had no choice but to retaliate or risk losing respect in the garage area.
Logano and Kenseth were two of the top drivers this season and neither will race for the title. Logano won the Daytona 500 and five other races, including a three-race sweep of the second round of the Chase.
Before Kenseth wrecked him, Logano was likely going to win at Martinsville to earn an automatic berth into the finale.
Kenseth won five races, but was in a must-win situation to avoid elimination in the second round of the Chase. He was headed to the win at Kansas that would have moved him into the third round of the Chase, but Logano spun him to snatch the victory.
Logano chalked it up as a racing incident, but Kenseth felt the act was intentional. The two never attempted to clear the air before Martinsville, where most everyone had a hunch that Kenseth would exact revenge.
Jeff Gordon went on to win at Martinsville and will race for his fifth championship on Sunday in his final event before retirement. He’ll be racing reigning champion Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. for the title.