NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2-Headed Monster: Has the Logano/Kenseth Feud Run Its Course?

Richard Petty and David Pearson.  Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer. Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski. Over the years, these have been some of the more famous rivalries in NASCAR, and whether they resulted in drivers coming to blows or just good-natured competition on the race track, they kept fans engaged and wondering just what might happen next.

In late 2015, fans saw another feud develop and come to a head between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth. You know the story: Logano and Kenseth make contact while battling for the lead at Kansas during the Chase, Kenseth slides. Logano wins. Kenseth doesn’t advance to the next round.

A few weeks and more issues later, a laps-down Kenseth knocks Logano out of the lead at Martinsville, ending Logano’s bid for four straight wins and eventually leads to Logano bowing out of the Chase. Kenseth was suspended two races.

The two said following the 2015 season that they had put their feud behind them, and through the first nine races of 2016 the two raced each other hard but clean. At Talladega last weekend, however, the two tangled on the backstretch while in the draft. Kenseth was shuffled out and eventually wrecked, an incident he said he wouldn’t have been a part of had the Logano scuffle never happened.

“I thought we were done with that,” Kenseth said about his past with Logano. “[B]ut maybe we aren’t.”

So, is the feud still over or are fans seeing a rekindling of last year’s rivalry?

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Kenseth and Logano are both smart guys. They both know that Talladega is a cruel and unpredictable place, and plenty of drivers get shuffled out of the draft. To attribute that leading to a crash isn’t fair. Plenty of other drivers are wrecked racing at the front, hiding in the back, etc. – basically, unless you’re running by yourself and losing seconds a lap,  you’re at risk of hitting the wall. It’s plate racing.

Which is why, I suspect, after a few days to cool off Kenseth won’t push the issue with Logano. Had this occurred on the backstretch of Kansas this weekend it might be a different story. But it didn’t, and while both drivers aren’t giving an inch to each other that doesn’t mean that they’re going to start punting the other. As Kenseth found out last season, there are serious consequences for manipulating the outcome of a race.

And neither driver can really afford the issues that a feud creates right now. Kenseth is in the midst of a tough season that has seen him lead lap after lap yet fail to finish in the top 10 in every race but two. Through 10 races, that’s an abysmal number for a driver that won five times last season and 12 times since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.

The drama that would come along with a new scuffle with Logano would distract from Kenseth and company’s righting of the ship, and considering the team is barely in the Chase grid at the moment the No. 20 team doesn’t need drama, torn up equipment and more poor finishes.

Logano, too, would benefit from a continued denouement in this chapter, another in a long stretch of scuffles with other drivers that he’s been a part of during his career. While he isn’t in as dire straits as Kenseth is – he sits seventh on the Chase Grid – he has yet to win a race through the first near-third of the season, and like Kenseth, Logano won multiple times last season and expects to win multiple races this year.

While the sport indeed feeds on drama between competitors, there has been enough great racing this year among other news that fans and the sport can use to promote stock car racing. A new round of drama from competitors who said during the off season that “the best case probably is for everybody to put it behind us and move on” (Kenseth) and “I’m sure this over time will kind of go away and we’ll be able to focus on the season” (Logano) isn’t necessary.

Both drivers will run each other hard the rest of the season, but not because of what transpired at Talladega. They’ll do it because of their mended past and because that’s what race car drivers do: not give an inch.  -Sean Fesko

WHY IT’LL CONTINUE

Joey Logano Martinsville Cup 2016 Mike Neff
Logano at Martinsville this year (credit: Mike Neff)

This tandem feud is far from over. Each weekend Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano wind up racing near each other, which should happen due to the competitive cars that they drive. Regardless of what the teams and team owners think of these two scuffling on and off the track, the drivers just don’t like each other.

Kenseth had a rough race last fall in Charlotte. The week following the event in NASCAR’s hub was Kansas, and everyone knows what happened there. That was the start of this ongoing, never-ending feud. It just so happens that the Cup Series heads back to Kansas this weekend.

The brash, 25-year-old Logano just has something about him that gets under the skin of the 2003 Sprint Cup champion. It’s interesting because the racing community has never seen anyone get to Kenseth as the driver of the No. 22 does. It’s really fascinating.

Throughout his 17-year career, Kenseth has never been viewed as a driver who gets into fights, verbal or physical. Arguably, rightfully so, he had every right to retaliate at some point for Logano costing him the shot at his second championship last year. Did he cross the line? Of course, intentionally wrecking another competitor bluntly on purpose should be illegal.

These two drivers are two of the best hard-nosed competitors in the world at what they do. However, every single week you see hard racing between the two which will almost always end up in a disaster.

Go back to Las Vegas earlier this season and these teams wouldn’t give each other an inch on the racetrack for a top-five position. Then think about some of the short tracks that there have been and these two touched, but Kenseth thought the line was crossed Sunday in Talladega.

After leading 39 laps at NASCAR’s biggest track, Kenseth ended up on his roof after getting clipped from Danica Patrick that sent him flying into the inside retaining wall. He blamed Logano for getting him back in traffic with just 15 laps to go.

“I promise you that we are going to race each other right before I’m done racing,” Kenseth said to Logano outside the infield care center.

It was caught by the FOX camera crew, but the words were mumbled. NBC Sports came out Monday on NASCAR America and announced what transpired between the two drivers.

Logano responded by simply saying “If you want to work with us we could have gone to the front.”

The No. 20 Toyota made a bold move to the inside of the No. 22 car down the backstretch and one has to wonder if it were anyone else would Kenseth have made that same move? That’s debatable, but what isn’t is what Logano said on Fox Sports NASCAR RaceHub on Wednesday evening as he was a guest panelist for the broadcast.

“We talked about it Monday night and we kind of went through all the past scenarios and decided let’s start from zero,” Logano said on RaceHub. “Let’s start from scratch and restart this thing because these feuds just keep growing until you talk about it and get to the bottom of it.

Kenseth was on the show Tuesday evening and stated that he felt things were “as good as it could possibly be… and that they understand each other much better.”

Regardless if these two have put everything in the rear view mirror off the track, it needs to be proven on track. It’s ironic that the series is heading to Kansas the weekend after, but it’s impossible for these two to get away from each other.

They can say that all is good and respect each other, but it needs to be proven. Until then it’s doubtful that these two can co-exist.

-Dustin Albino

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18 Comments
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kb

I always am fascinated with the viewpoint that if so and so has a problem with you, then it must be your fault. And it takes two to tango etc. Two sides to every story, blah, blah, blah. No, sometimes (more often than not) it is a one sided drama, going on in some one’s head and you have done nothing wrong. A observation as to how it just cannot be someone holding a grudge, or just not liking you. YOU, have to have done something wrong……

spot1

Joey could dump a bucket of shit over you, tell you it’s gold and you’d figure you were rich. He’s not the innocent victim you think he is. Joey did fire the first shot then bragged about it. He will learn before all is said and done.

kb

See Spot1, if it offends you, don’t flucking read it. Why torture yourself. Whips and chains delayed in the mail? What is it? So freaking weird. Go beat your neighbors dog, or take yourself in a private room. I am not here to help you with your anger issues.

spot1

Go fluck yourself.

spot1

………and I don’t need help, especially your help, with my issues. Besides, looking at your obvious troubles, what possible good could you do for anyone here?

kb

Spotty, I continue to think of fish in a barrel and special ed classes (God bless them) when I see your colorful prose..Carry On!!!!

spot1

Oooohhhh, that’s good. Bagging on Special Ed now. Shows what kind of a person you really are. Do you steal candy from children, too? Now, why don’t you see if you can pull your head out of Joey Logano’s ass so you can actually breathe in some fresh air you P.O.S.

DJ

I think the only person with a problem in this “feud” is Kenseth. Logano did nothing wrong at Talladega. There is no brain in Matt’s head, only Joey

Broken Arrow

And of course, to kb, the real cause of the Kenseth-Logano feud is Kyle Busch, because kb believes everything is Kyle’s fault. Funnily, in this case, that line of thought may have some validity since Kyle and Joey were always good teammates and seem to have continued that amity even after Joey was booted for Kenseth. Could it be that Matt hates Joey because “Kyle always liked you better?”

Of course, this is silly, but all of kb’s comments are silly including this one concluding that a feud between two drivers is always the fault of the one kb hates the most.

kb

Hey Broken Record. I see you attack Gina and attack me…and well…WHAT THEY HELL ARE YOU SAYING? Are your meds in need of adjustment or do your handlers need to keep you away from the keyboard? God you are embarrassing.

josh

If it’s true that they talked Monday night that’s a huge step in the right direction. As a Logano fan I truly believe this fued has affected him at times this year and the best thing for both these guys is to put it behind em. It’s fun as hell to watch though :)

Bill B

As far as I am concerned Logano fired the first shot at Kansas. Was it blatantly over the line? No. But it was controversial and on the edge and Kenseth took exception to it. Whenever you put the bumper to someone, even though most think it’s acceptable, the guy that gets spun ultimately decides whether he is OK with it or not. Kenseth decided he was not OK with it and went nuclear at Martinsville. At that point, if anyone owes anyone anything it would be Logano owing Kenseth a payback.

Just wanted to point out that Logano wasn’t totally innocent in this feud and even though KB keeps insisting he was a total victim in this deal, I don’t think it’s a fact but an opinion and it should be treated that way.

As for Talladega, total racing deal and Kenseth was being a putz to make an issue out of it.

kb

Bill the conviction of your post should be strong enough without bringing my belief into it. What value does it add giving the same old KB (…fill in the Logano shitz here) to your post? Other than an obvious dig, for whatever reason you felt to do it? Am I going to change my viewpoint, not at all. I personally don’t see it. Just sayin’.

Have a nice evening…..

Bill B

You are right but as long as you keep maintaining that Logano has no culpability in this feud I will keep stating the obvious.

kb

So your viewpoint is fact, and that is all that matters. Jeez, one would think Jeff was still racing. Just sayin. Lol.

kb

All kidding aside, your opinion is your opinion, and it would be nice to keep the Kb…this and that out of your argument, after all it is your opinion and I should have nothing to do with it. Power to Bill B and his, just don’t drag me in….Have a nice weekend.

Upstate24fan

Kenseth doesn’t like Logano for the same reason Gordon got so mad at Keselowski. Kenseth is in the final years of his career, and he feel Logano robbed him of a legitimate shot at a championship. It’s clear at this point they don’t like each other. I don’t expect another Martinsville, but if these two are battling for a win again late…watch out. NASCAR needs good rivalries like this. Normally these fizzle out by now, but this one hasn’t.

ben

Joey just race your race keep the baby’s behind you they whine more that way

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