Matt Kenseth: Restart rules are ‘fairly clear’


As of Tuesday morning, race winner Matt Kenseth still hadn’t seen the restart that Brad Keselowski was black flagged for Sunday in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“Somehow I’ve missed it on my DVR,” Kenseth said when asked about his clarity on restart guidelines on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“Not to comment specifically on this weekend or the penalty, because obviously, I didn’t see it. I think the rule is fairly clear,” Kenseth said. “It’s always been a ball-and-strike call.”

Keselowski, who restarted second to Greg Biffle, was penalized for an early jump on the restart.

“I did not see what happened this weekend but if the leader was not the first one out of that box and he wasn’t first one to get started and there was a penalty for the second-place guy, there probably should have been,” Kenseth said, adding that the restart rule is “really as simple” as the leader being the first to accelerate and the first out of the restart box.

“If they start enforcing that and making sure the leader has the advantage, then you’re not going to have the issue any more,” Kenseth continued. “In my opinion, you have to make sure the leader is taken care of. I think the leader should always have the advantage, He earned that. He is the leader. He should always restart the race. The rule they changed about a year and a half ago is that the leader has to restart the race in that box and the leader has to be the first one out of that box.”

The debate over what defines a clean restart began during the last Bristol race week.

It then returned at Richmond International Raceway in the final regular-season race. Team owner Roger Penske raised questions about Kenseth’s final restart. NASCAR defended its non-call and said it wanted “to leave it in the drivers’ hands.”

“The argument came from Richmond saying that I went early,” Kenseth said. “I’m not going to let the second-place guy beat me to the start-finish line and (then I) come off Turn 2 in third place after I worked so hard and led 300 laps and dominated the race with 20 laps to go on a restart.”

Restart confusion grew entering the Chase for the Sprint Cup, as driver Joey Logano said “we can’t police ourselves.”

The Chase began with NASCAR ruling that a restart by Jeff Gordon during the Chicagoland race was legal. Then came the final restart at New Hampshire. Keselowski showed his displeasure, saying after the race that NASCAR was an “entertainment sport, not a fair sport.”

NASCAR on NBC analyst Frank Stoddard compared the Keselowski restart to the non-call with Gordon at Chicagoland and said the penalty was uncalled for.

Kenseth, a five-time winner in 2015, believes the issue of restarts will take care of itself with NASCAR’s action.

“Once you know that the second-place guy has to play by the rules and the third-place guy has to play by the rules, the leader is going to start the race right every time because he doesn’t have incentive not to,” Kenseth said. “He knows the other guys aren’t going to mess with him and jump him and take advantage of him.”

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin

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NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Elliott’s car slapped the outside wall. Elliott’s car then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.