Jeff Gordon says that Joey Logano’s “gloating” about his incident with Matt Kenseth after Kansas sent the wrong message and likely contributed to Kenseth wrecking Logano on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
Kenseth ran into Logano with 45 laps left in the race while Logano led. That gave Gordon the chance to win and become the first driver to transfer to the championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR is reviewing Kenseth’s actions and a decision could come Tuesday.
Gordon said Monday on the “Dan Patrick Show” that he understood Kenseth’s emotions toward Logano.
Problems started at Kansas when Kenseth led and tried to block Logano in the final laps. They made contact and Kenseth spun, allowing Logano to win. Logano defended his actions by noting that Kenseth’s blocking had forced him into the wall earlier.
“Had Joey handled that situation at Kansas slightly better, I mean he was gloating about it, ‘oh yeah, that’s exactly the way I should have raced, he blocked me,’ ‘’ Gordon said.
“That’s fine if you feel that way – but guess what? – that’s not helping the situation and how he’s going to think about you and not even think twice if he gets in that scenario and in that situation.
“That’s what I learned in my situation with (Clint) Bowyer. Yeah, I had regrets. I wish I had handled it differently, but I also know that my raw emotions came out and I reacted, but it’s how you handle it from that point moving forward as to what is going to help you get through it and that goes from both sides.’’
NASCAR fined Gordon $100,000, docked him 25 points and placed him on probation for the rest of the year after intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer in the season’s penultimate race in 2012 at Phoenix International Raceway. The incident spilled into the garage where both crews scuffled.
Patrick then asked Gordon if Kenseth did what any other driver would have done in that situation.
“I can only speak for myself,’’ Gordon said. “I think Matt is a very intense driver. He’s quiet and reserved. I have had my run-ins with Matt. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Matt.
“I think that what he feels like is he was disrespected and that he wasn’t going to stand for it anymore. It’s like kind of a three-strikes-and-you’re-out situation. The Kansas thing happened and that’s strike one, and they had some issues at Talladega (Kenseth was upset at Logano for cutting across his car to enter pit road) and that’s strike two, and then, boom, this happens at Martinsville and it’s like strike three that’s it.
“I think anyone that was in that position who is a competitor and has driven a race car … 90 percent of the time they do the same thing.’’