NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Bowles-Eye View: The Downside In Demonizing NASCAR Youth Leader Joey Logano

NASCAR finds itself in a box this Tuesday A.M. (also known as After Martinsville). The past 48 hours have been nonstop jabbering about Matt Kenseth knocking Joey Logano to kingdom come. Some in the garage think Logano had it coming; others think Kenseth crossed a line. Whatever the opinion, that has led to captivating television, national conversation and actual emotion from a sport that appeared to be in freefall after the checkered flag fell (apart?) last Sunday at Talladega.

But perhaps the most interesting part of this equation is the fans, at least the ones in the stands at Martinsville, clearly picked a side in this debate. Kenseth was greeted to universal cheers the second he emerged from his car Sunday; it was almost as loud as when Jeff Gordon won the race about an hour later. Logano, meanwhile was greeted to a chorus of boos despite dominating the event, and in the process of cruising to his fourth straight victory in the Cup Series before Mr. Kenseth cruised onto his rear bumper.

That streak, now snuffed out is nothing to sneeze at, a surge forgotten about in this sea of controversy over the wreck. Only eight drivers in the sport’s modern era (1972-present) have won four straight races. Just one (Jimmie Johnson, 2007) has done so this century. Logano was on the verge of history, accomplishing it in the playoffs and would have had a chance, considering Team Penske’s strength at 1.5-mile tracks this season to set a new record of five straight at Texas this Sunday. Instead, he’ll be fighting for his championship life and searching for any scrap of momentum after Kenseth burned it to smoldering embers on the Martinsville frontstretch.

Lost too perhaps, is a championship that Logano appeared poised to win at age 25. Without the Chase that so many want to chase away he’d be leading the “regular season” points by 21 over Kevin Harvick. The duo have remained far and above the competition, producing results at a level all their own; third-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 104 points behind by comparison, playing by the “old rules.” Logano’s 11 victories posted since the start of the 2014 season lead all drivers, and he joins Harvick as the only possibilities for back-to-back “Final Fours” under NASCAR’s new playoff format.

It’s a resume for Logano that’s gained strength rather quickly, lending credence to Mark Martin’s claim he’ll become the best driver of the next generation. But as his prime approaches, a transition from “successful” to “superstar,” Kenseth’s retaliation reminds us of one disturbing fact for this 20-something phenom: stats have not translated to fan support.

In fact, the boos have grown louder, in part due to Logano winning and in part due to what some viewed as arrogance in the wake of wrecking Kenseth to earn the win at Kansas. That fan attitude is also nothing new; in recent years, Logano has been in dustups with Denny Hamlin, a wreck that took out the Joe Gibbs Racing driver for a month and also engaged in a war of words with Harvick. A youngster that once had trouble standing up for himself on-track now has no problem making contact down the stretch to earn a victory.

Those style changes are producing a crucial moment in Logano’s career, or is it a crisis? The aggression which helped define Dale Earnhardt Sr. is having the opposite effect on a driver who looks more comfortable texting on an iPhone than talking tough in front of the camera. (And when he does, Logano is decidedly PG; Kenseth’s move on Sunday to wreck him was titled “chicken-you-know-what” when no one would blamed him for using a potty mouth.)

It’s a much different vibe being produced, a northeastern native emerging as the face of southern-based NASCAR that’s still yearning at times for the rough-and-tumble Earnhardt. At least Gordon came along at a time where Earnhardt was still around, setting up a dynamic that was entertaining to watch. The boos were matched by cheers for someone else, a way for the negative emotions to balance out and justification for fans to keep watching. But who will Logano’s rival be? Gordon is leaving the sport, retiring in November and Tony Stewart, reduced to a footnote on-track will follow him in 2016. Harvick, Earnhardt Jr., and even Kenseth are all in their 40s, too close to retirement age to cultivate long-term competition. Brad Keselowski? He’s a teammate, unlikely to become a hated rival in this era where cooperation within a multi-car giant earns you titles.

That leaves Logano twisting in the wind, potentially embarking on a dominant Johnsonlike next few seasons ahead armed with even less of a fanbase. Which takes us back to NASCAR getting put in a box. Conventional wisdom says there’s going to need to be some punishment toward Kenseth; what it will be is unclear. However, a suspension in this case would not only be inconsistent but would serve as a notice Logano needed to be protected.

Protect, protect, protect in fact is all NASCAR’s done since Sunday. Logano’s father, Tom, was shoved into a hauler instead of being given an opportunity to confront his son’s aggressor. Logano himself was kept far away from Kenseth, incapable of conversing even though both wound up at the same infield care center. Next, the sport will punish Kenseth without Logano having a chance to defend himself man-to-man. Some might say it’s a weird, unintentional message that this youngster needs to be coddled instead of standing on his own two feet.

In this era of declining attendance and interest I often stop and wonder whether a decision NASCAR makes will win any new fans. What will punishing Kenseth do to the reputation of Logano? Just think of trying to explain this situation to someone just learning about the sport. “Well, you see, Logano was fighting for a win, wrecked Kenseth and then some people think he got all cocky about it. So a few weeks later, Kenseth wrecked him back for revenge but NASCAR thought that was too mean so they punished Kenseth as a way to keep Logano protected.” Um, what? An eye for an eye has been turned into Mom and Dad protecting the prodigal son.

Is that the way NASCAR wants Logano to be viewed? For them to make a comeback with the image-conscious next generation it’s Logano’s image, as well as his success, that will make the difference. Right now, Logano is viewed as the bad guy, right or wrong, and any punishment simply makes it worse in a sport that once settled disagreement with fists – not section F from the NASCAR Rulebook.

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kb

First and foremost I have been saying this since this young man burst on the seen. Logano gets blamed for a heart attack in India when he is at a McDonalds in Mooresville. I have never seen anything like it.

He is the first true talent beside Brad that has come along in some time. The older drivers have done a very good job at creating a pity party for them and condemnation for Joey. Lets face it the only one under 30 is Logano who is getting it done..nobody else.

You have Dale Junior saying to his minions that Matt was mad because Joey was “arrogant” about what he did in “wrecking him”. Junior in the simplest of ways set a message to his follows and they heard the call and pushed the boo’s at Dega and Martinsville. It isn’t true, but that isn’t the point. A little fan manipulation to let Joey know Junior did not like him saying he felt he could beat him at Dega. Why not, he had just a good of a chance as Junior, Junior took umbrage with the truth.

Nascar and the media for years have run this narrative that every run in a driver has had with Logano it has automatically been his fault. Despite what video and words the older timers said.. The built up of this young guys “disrespect” thing is preposterous. Harvick, Stewart have done far worse to him. And the media eats up their indignation that Logano dare do race them and not back down. . The fact is Logano ain’t taking shit no more, they are offended as well as their fans. There are plenty who are fans of Logano, but that gets suppressed to the point of media preference to suit their narrative. The bias and lunacy and has the nerve to ask if he has fans. Well yes, and plenty. The narrative is a joke.

Tom Bowles you are part of the problem with terms like “wrecking at Kansas” but not a mention of Matt doing the same thing to Newman and Newman keeping his line. Matt did that. Matt did Kansas, but the lazy headline is Logano did it, on Tv and print. And ruined his chance!!!!!

I have watched this for some time, and the path of least resistance most times is to blame the young nice, guy. And well if Ryan Newman missed his lunch is hungry and takes out a few drivers…Logano’s name will creep up at some point of the cause.

At this point I do want Nascar to draw the line in the sand with Kenseth, the fans are brutal jerks, absurd Chevy lovers….Matty lover, Bat lovers, White Castle Burger lovers..it doesn’t matter..he doesn’t driver a Chevy so him looking left when he should be looking right will not be forgiven with this current sick climate.

And Tom Logano did not help his son, but that isn’t a reason to throw a talent under the bus, I am sure the son is not pleased. I thought he had his hard card pulled and learned his lesson.

I don’t take much stock in fan cheer, they are all out for their own agenda. And sometimes that means there are just more stupid people.

I don’t take any of it as Logano needed to be protected. Nascar has an opportunity to stop this nonsense. sadly Logano is the test case thru no fault of his own. Many fans hate him for whatever insane reason, he could cure cancer the crap would be the same. Can’t worry about those people. Nascasr has to do what is right.

Logano has a healthy fan base, is as rabid as Junior..or others no. But if people like Tom did a little research..you might be surprised.

I think personally the “fan” base is the question, not Logano The demands on this guy and lies are amazing. Best he keep doing what he is doing.

And it seem to me that you were inferring Logano is doingn something wrong because of some looney fans booing. That is a sad indictment of our times.

Robin1

AMEN.

Richie

I’ve had it with Kansas being portrayed as Logano “wrecking” Kenseth. Logano did not wreck him. Stop writing that!

PCar

Right on!
The 20 saved the car, dude can drive. the 22 – not so much…

Richie

Yeah, I see what you’re doing there. Pretty sure no one could have saved the 22 car the way the 20 got into him Sunday. LOL

Ken

kb, THANK YOU! I could not have answered Tom’s column any better!

Mike

“a northeastern native emerging as the face of southern-based NASCAR”

nascrap hasn’t been Southern based in over a decade and has done everything possible to alienate the once core Southern / blue-collar fan.

Bill B

Gee, a young up and coming driver starts winning a bunch of races and rocks the status quo and the fans boo, the media is against him, the older drivers push him around, etc., etc.. Where have I seen that before?

The truth is the only reason this is happening is because Joey turned the corner and is now a winner and threat to other drivers’ winning and the fans’ favorite winning. If Joey wasn’t winning no one would be caring.

In anther 5 years he will be the establishment and then some other young guy will come along and start ruffling the established pecking order.

It isn’t fair, it isn’t right but it seems like that’s the natural evolution in NASCAR. I don’t think everything Earnhardt senior spewed out is gospel but there is a lot of truth to his assertion that getting booed is better than not hearing anything. Joey is doing something right and eventually he will be a shining star and get the respect he has earned, it just doesn’t happen over night.

Mike Neff

Just an observation about the chicken-you-know-what comment. Don’t forget Dale Earnhardt Jr. being docked 25 points for saying ‘shit’ at Talladega. That ultimately cost him a championship. At this point the only title he’s truly had a shot at. Logano chose discretion rather than putting his fate in the hands of a production intern on the censor button.

As for Kenseth, this was boys have at it. You can’t put parameters around it. Either they police themselves or they don’t. Logano is a grown ass man and can take care of himself. Kenseth should be fined because there is a precedent for it. If they sit him down the sanctioning body will have admitted that they are truly trying to kill the sport.

JohnQ

Easy Mike. There is no chance that by actually behaving like a legitimate sanctioning body NASCAR will “kill the sport”. TV viewership and free fall attendance clearly indicate that they’ve already done that.

russ

Who was it that tweeted “they cheered for the lions in the Coliseum too”. Not far from the mark was he?
Until Nascar gets to the point that actions have consequences, and everybody, whether a participant or fan knows what those are they will continue with the path they are on. And it shouldn’t matter if its the first lap of the first race or the last lap of the championship.

Btw what, if any, difference is there between the “fan” who cheered for the lion, and the “fan” who cheered for the intentional wrecking of a competitor?

Bill B

Well the person being attacked by the lion didn’t volunteer for it and wasn’t paid a boat load of money and usually the person with the lion didn’t walk away. So there’s that.

russ

absolutely true. Maybe a better analogy would have been the opposing quarterback being attended to by the medical staff.

Budsudz

Mike,

This was not “boys have at it” That would be retaliation for something that happened within the same race. This was a pre-meditated below the belt cheap shot by Kenseth.
Again, Kenseth was tapped while blocking (he’s at least 50% responsible for the spin). The reason that he was desperate and blocking at Kansas was because he botched Charlotte. (His/Team’s Fault, no one else)

This is the entire issue with the Chase. The equivalent would be players from the Indianapolis Colts, upset at Deflategate, showing up at the Super Bowl (after they had been eliminated) and sacking Tom Brady and knocking him out of the game. If you are going to keep the Chase, there should be a separate. 16 to 1 in the first round, 12-1 in the second, etc. Hence, when a driver gets knocked out or suffers a mechanical failure in one race, they still drop to the bottom, but don’t suffer the massive points penalty of finishing behind Gilleland, Danica, Josh Wise and the other small teams that run 25-40 every week.

JohnQ

Tom, You need not fret about NASCAR’s ultimate decision having any effect on “new fans”. Even through your heavily tinted rose colored glasses you must have noticed THERE ARE NO NEW FANS and less and less old fans with each passing week.

Just Saying

Agree 100% with KB. Remember when Logano came up, it was Edwards, Hamlin, and Busch who were the future stars. They hated Logano and did everything they could to minimize him. Logano hung tough and kept moving forward. Now he may be surpassing them on the track. First he was a wimp and now he is too rough.

Also – agree with Ritchie – stop saying wreck Kenseth.

All of that, I hope they don’t penalize Kenseth. Leave it on the track where it belongs. Although, there is no doubt who Kenseth I guess.

Thank you

GinaV24

Gee, people don’t like a particular driver? Imagine that! My favorite driver was the “enemy” for a lot of years and the outright hatred that was thrown around in both speech and physical responses by fans of other drivers was pretty darned amazing, not just at Gordon but at his fans, too. I’ve heard the booing rain down for not just Gordon, but Johnson, the Busch brothers, and now Logano, so what? Does Logano really need to be protected from that? If he does, then he needs to grow up and part of that would mean his daddy needs to stop running around after him or others who he thinks have wronged him like Logano is a 12 year old kid. Let Logano and his team take care of their issues with other drivers and teams. I’m sure they are more than capable of it.

IMO NASCAR created the scenario with the crapshoot format and last year they allowed the boys have at it message to creep over into – it’s OK to wreck someone if you aren’t too blatant about it (ala Newman with Larson) and then the rough driving with Kez and Gordon. I didn’t see NASCAR stepping in to protect either one of them? As a matter of fact, NASCAR promoted the heck out of the “fight” at Texas and the potential for revenge/retribution for the next few races. This year we got to see Harvick wreck Bayne to end the GWC at Talladega so he could keep his position and advance to the next round.

NASCAR and much of the media is so hypocritical about all of this. Brian France in his media talk about the blocking/spinning incident between Kenseth and Logano called it “quintessential NASCAR” which probably in the drivers minds meant “hey it’s OK”. So then Harvick did his deal and got away with it and that set another precedent and there was a close call between Kenseth and Logano at Talladega, too, so that ticked Kenseth off again. So at Martinsville you wound up with a perfect storm. Kenseth was still mad from previous incidents, the Penske cars were playing games on the restart and Kenseth, whether right or wrong, pressed the issue and got turned by the 2 and winds up in the garage, so now he’s really mad and I’m sure decided it was time for someone else to be on the receiving end ala sometimes you’re the ball.

I have no dog in this fight. Neither driver is even on my “what do I care” radar but NASCAR can’t be so hypocritical about all this. This format sets up this kind of scenario, we saw the “wreck’em and who cares” attitude last year and the drivers/teams have simply continued it this year.

For the various media like FS1 and Larry Mac (yeah like he has any teeth left after NASCAR emasculated him – I know a mixed metaphor but you get my drift) to be yelling on TV that “NASCAR has to do something” makes him sound ridiculous when it is NASCAR that created the beast.

And this nonsense that fans/people don’t like Logano because he’s from the northeast. Really? I doubt that is the reason why people don’t like a driver — NASCAR is gone national -remember? Most people don’t care where a driver is from – they either like that driver or they don’t.

janice

i still say na$car started this crap with their “boys have at it”…..personally i don’t like logano…just something about him i don’t like….maybe it’s his father and how they have money and it made the way for logano to enter cup series. i knew when logano took over the 20 from stewart it was going to get ugly after a while. it’s like he figured he’d pick up where tony left off. then of course when brad went to penske and then penske hired logano, i figured roger would have his hands full with visits to the oval office.

all this focus on logano/kenseth….i saw clip online about princess sparkle pony spinning someone out as well. will she receive the same punishment? i mean she’s been involved in several on-track dust ups and no one has ever cried for her head on platter.

na$car created the monster to put butts in the seats. i’m sure texas track owner is salivating at the potential for retaliation this coming weekend, but by time the cuppers arrive, they’ll have been neutered.

i think it all comes down to respect, or lack of respect. abrasive drivers create interest but after a while, someone just snaps and is tired of it all.

kb

Thanks for your reply. I for one am not on board with social media, I am not part of that world like many other fans. I don’t feel that whole business should be used as a barometer or not. I find it funny, frankly it seems to be a useful tool, but more often than not just a narcissistic outlet. But that’s me. I do believe the media and social media has played a role in him being a bad guy and that has been ongoing for some time. The media often has him twirling his dastardly mustache and dangit..it must be true.

I don’t think in this day and age given the economic realities, the absurd format of “The Chase” that “boys have at it” has a place. I will interested to see if Nascar deems it a gladiator sport or something more realistic. In today’s climate. I don’t care who you are, you have no business using somebody else’s property to exact revenge on your perceived wrong, especially in the manner it happened. If NASCAR deems it so, then I have a clearer picture.

I do believe your statement regarding him not “gathering of fans support” has larger origins. The subtle and not so subtle reporting that gets played out in the media plays a large part of your perception that he isn’t tearing up the popularity contest for instance. People for goodness sake dislike because of his looks and are vocal about it. He has gotten a lot of hate because of the “rich kid” label. The ignorant fans just cannot wrap their brain around the fact that it is a expensive sport, it costs money and whether it is your parents or somebody else who believes in you..none of these drivers when young, paid for their own race cars. People believe in them, and nurtured them on their journey to where they are now. They did not work the breakfast take out window at Hardee’s before they went to kindergarten in the morning. He was employed at 15 with Gibbs culling a paycheck, but that doesn’t matter a wit to some. SMH. The other issue is Tom Logano, as a young kid in the sport, natural to see dad around. And you will see plenty of Bill Elliot as you already have. The difference is Tom doesn’t know his place, he obviously loves his son very much and that’s fine, but getting riled up at Joey’s workplace, does not help. I thought he was beyond that, hasn’t acted up in a while. I think Joey is doing fine, and will continue to do fine. He has huge sponsor support and plenty of fan support.

What happened if he wins at Texas will Martinsville matter? Yes! What happened at Martinsville, speaks volumes regarding many things wrong with the sport and what is considered the societal norm today.

I know I get laughed and piss people off (don’t care). I have made it a hobby watching the Nascar media and fan response for years to certain drivers….it’s Pavlov’s theory in living color.

GinaV24

kb, even though NASCAR suspended Kenseth for his actions, I firmly believe that NASCAR really does want it to be, as you termed it, a gladiator sport even though they will publicly say something else because they will promote the heck out of this incident for future races, just as they did with Kez/Gordon’s incident last year. It’s all about promotion for them. They will stand there and say “we’re taking the high road” while in the back rooms they, and much of the media, are licking their chops saying “this is awesome”. Look at how much attention it has gotten for the sport. Good or bad, its all about the benjamins.

As far as the reasons why people like or dislike certain people, well, that is way beyond my ability to interpret. I have had people that I’ve disliked on first meeting and other people who were my best friend from that first meeting on for no rational reason at all. It’s the same way with who we as fans will or won’t cheer for. I know where I am am with that and I’m comfortable with it. Quite honestly I cheered for Jimmy Spencer after he punched Kurt Busch. I thought KuBu deserved it then and I still think he’s a jerk. In the future, ee could become Saint Kurt and I still wouldn’t like him. It’s the same way with Gordon, there are people out there who will never like him. As you said at the end of your post, you don’t care if people laugh or if you piss them off about Logano and that’s pretty much how I feel about Gordon.

You like Logano, that’s great. I’ve been on the hard side of that equation with liking Gordon against all the ABG fans for a lot of years so I understand your frustration with wanting people to understand your point of view. I also know that trying to convince another person that they are wrong and you are right, especially about a sports figure, can be a tough proposition.

I always kind of liked Pavlov.

kb

Thanks for reading my novel Gina… :)

GinaV24

ha, no problem, you notice I seldom have a short answer myself.

kb

Thanks Tom, I had a reply and it said “awaiting moderation” and then it was gone..Guess I am in the P.I.A. doghouse…. :)

brokenarrow

Throwing a driver’s popularity into the issue of assessing penalties smacks of high school girls back-stabbing each other to get to the “popular table.” Driver’s popularity tends to vary over time. Earnhardt Sr. was certainly not universally loved until his death elevated him to sainthood. DW was the despicable “Jaws” until Rusty Wallace took him out in the All-Star race and DW became one of the “respected veterans.” Jeff Gordon was demonized for beating Earnhardt and looking silly with his Hitler mustache. It takes time for fans to embrace most young drivers, except those who come in with ready-made fan bases, like Junior and Chase Elliott.

Whether fans are cheering or booing should not enter into a decision here. To paraphrase Kyle Busch, take the names off the cars and decide guilt or innocence, punishment or justification, based on what actually happened, not a fan poll, T-shirt sales, or Twitter followers.

Carl D.

Exactly. I have always respected Tom’s opinions and still do, but to hand out various penalties based on how popular a driver is (or might become) is absolutely wrong and creates an appearance of bias and favoritism.

sr37212

BF/BK/JL/KH all can get away with murder. Doesn’t really matter because fewer and fewer people watch and even less go to Nascar anymore. Nashville was one of the TV hotspots and you go out on Sundays now and seldom do you see any screens with Nascar on it…………………………….. I was actually hoping next years package would make me want to see Nascar again (except for the occasional short track race) but …. I think not – after 50 years FU Nascar.

salb

I have to ask about the Danica/Gilliland incident. I thought earlier in the race they showed Gilliland shoving Danica’s car into the wall…very much like Matt did to Joey. I’m not sure I can blame her for trying to ‘get even’ after seeing that. at least she and Matt waited for a short track, unlike Carl who took out Kez at a high speed track. Looks like the ‘classy guys’ at JGR have rubbed off on Matt.

Upstate24fan

I think Joey can become the next Gordon. Dominate and be hated. He certainly has natural rivals, the whole Joe Gibbs camp, Harvick. He reminds a bit of a young Gordon, very clean cut and soft spoken. Just the type of driver many fans love to hate. The worst thing for him was getting shoved into the Tony Stewart’s 20 Home Depot car with not even a full season of Nationwide racing behind him. We want rivalries in the sport, and right now Penske v. Gibbs has blown up.

Steve

Can people please get this right: LOGANO DID NOT WRECK KENSETH AT KANSAS! He moved him out of the way. Just like Kenseth moved Logano out of the way earlier in the race. But nobody seemed to find a problem with that.

Other than that you write a compelling narrative. I tend to think that there are 3 other things at play here why people don’t like Logano. the first one has nothing to do with his dustups. Its simply Jr fans idiotically thinking that he somehow screwed Jr at Talladega (i.e the reason for all the cheers at Martinsville). The 2nd is the hardcore fan base is made up mostly of people who are fans of the older drivers like Kenseth, Jr, Gordon etc. The old guard if you will. They don’t like having a youngster come into their playground and taking wins from their favorite. And #3, is the fact that some people think Logano entered the sport with a silver spoon in his mouth. Saying he’s from the northeast is a ridiculous reason, though.

Bill B

Steve,
I do agree with you. I didn’t consider Joey’s move on Kenseth wrecking him either. Unfortunately Matt must have and, unfortunately, his opinion mattered more than ours.

Richie

I find it utterly baffling why seasoned NASCAR writers keep using the word wrecked when it was plainly a tap and a spin. Last I checked, I don’t need to call Geico if I spin out. Almost like there’s some kind of agenda. And, I’m not singling out Bowles, he’s not on the bus by himself.

Tykie

Let me first say that this was a well written article. YES, Lagano did wreck Matt at Kansas. If he is such a great driver he would be able to pass a driver clean or at least know how to give him a bumper with out wrecking the opponent. But then that is how he races, no respect for anybody. Kes and Lagano were cooking up trouble on their radios before the wreck. Too bad their plans backfired. If the youngster is going to come into the old guards playground then he better be ready to play by the rules or be willing to suffer the consequences. You evidently must be one of the youngsters.

J. Smith

Enough with Logano is great crap. He is competent and landed in a great seat, right time right place. Give the credit to the crew chief, team and Penske. If I payed much attention anymore I would know the crew chief’s name. That guy deserves the credit.

Richie

Kinda like Jimmie Johnson, eh?

kb

Me SPAM????????? PFFFFT :) :) :) Thanks Tom!

Gordon Poor

I understand that people didn’t like Talladega . harvick failed to hold position on first GWC or even if they say it’s under yellow cause leader didn’t cross line well first you had green light on it was started at that moment Joey accelerated.
#4 car moved out of line before start finish line (that also could put you to rear of Field) he lost from 6-8 positions and they gave him his place before GWC back . INCONSISTENT CALL
Martinsville if you can’t see the difference between Matt and Danica incident’s then you should not call your self an expert. Danica was straight forward racing payback for contact made in the current events running been thousands since racing was conceived .
Matt on the other hand was on his mind before Talladega he said as much in pre Talladega interview. Watching Martinsville race you could have noticed that when 20 got close to 22 he bumped the 22 (in corner) 22 let him by, on restart again 20 behind 22 the 2 on inside 41 behind Joey started the race got down in front of 2 the 20 appears to pinch 2 low coming very close to hitting 22 in corner again slowing the 2 then 41 getting into the 2 bumping him into 20 breaking tie rod and spinning the 20 which hits 41,
Repair’s done 20 comes out joining back of pack laps down 22 starting race , appears 20 can’t maintain speed loses contact with field and being told on radio where leader (22) is coming off corner Joey goes high around slowing car (driver code) as leader passing the 20 accelerating and moving up track catching leader ( a moment ago couldn’t stay with back of pack mind you ) at end of straightaway roughly same spot that Joey is turning into apex corner Matt continued to accelerate impacting the 22 and slammed both into wall . now repairing a car to return too race solely for purpose of crashing the championship points leader and the race leader is purely unprecedented and disgraceful display of unsportsmanlike conduct never seen in NASCAR before and yes Matt should thank NASCAR that he gets to comeback after two race suspension I would have made his whole team wait until race 3 in 2016 .
He should apologize to Penske
NASCAR and fans for his actions and probably seek help from anger management professional.

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