KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Joe Gibbs, the man who brought Joey Logano to the Sprint Cup Series, hoped he could be the driver to replace Tony Stewart there and later cast Logano off when Matt Kenseth became available and sponsorship couldn’t be found for Logano, pursed his lips as he pondered Logano spinning Kenseth out of the lead late in Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway.
“I’ve got no comment other than everybody saw what happened,’’ said Gibbs, a God-fearing man prone to find the positive in nearly every situation.
Kenseth, whose emotion rarely is seen – except seemingly with Team Penske drivers – was direct when asked if he felt Logano intentionally wrecked him out of the lead on Lap 263 of the 269-lap race, which was extended by a green-white-checkered finish.
“Absolutely, 100 percent,’’ Kenseth said without hesitation.
Logano said he didn’t intentionally turn Kenseth.
“It’s hard racing,’’ Logano said. “With 15 to go, I … had to lift and not wreck both us. I got put in the same situation in the frontstretch. We both went for the same piece of real estate. We ran each other hard. He ran me hard, and I ran him hard back. It’s unfortunate things happen.’’
Kenseth needed this win. He finished 42nd last weekend at Charlotte, putting him in a situation where he likely won’t advance to the third round and continue his title quest based on points alone.
With his title hopes thinning, Kenseth stood next to his car on pit road as Logano celebrated in victory lane. The last time Kenseth had a run-in with a Penske driver in this round of the Chase was with Brad Keselowski last year at Charlotte, leading to Kenseth putting Keselowski in a headlock between haulers in the garage.
A calm Kenseth was asked what he would say to Logano about Sunday’s incident when they talked.
“I won’t talk to Joey,’’ Kenseth said. “I don’t have anything to talk to him about. You make decisions every day. You make decisions every minute behind the wheel. To me, strategically, that doesn’t seem like a great decision for him. But it’s the one he made and that’s how he wanted to win. I’m one of the only guys that I think hadn’t been in it with Joey, and I’ve always raced him with a ton of respect.’’
Logano said wasn’t going to lift after being blocked by Kenseth earlier.
“He just plain wrecked me,’’ Kenseth said. “He cries on his radio a lot, I guess, about blocking or moving around, but I mean, man you’re leading the race, you can pick whatever lane you want. It’s not like he was alongside of me. To wreck somebody for being in a lane that you wanted to be in seems to be kind of risky and not very smart. That was the decision he made.
“The race track is 80 or 100 feet wide down there and I was in front of him. He just chose to spin me out because he wanted to be in the top groove instead of going left and trying to race me for the win the way a man should do it really.”