FORT WORTH, Texas – David Gilliland said he was surprised Danica Patrick was penalized for retaliating against him last weekend at Martinsville Speedway but added that she did not deserve the same penalty Matt Kenseth received.
Gilliland and Patrick had contact during that race and it ended with her “repaying the favor” and running into him.
“I was kind of surprised that she got penalized,’’ Gilliland told NASCAR Talk on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. “I think you’ve seen drivers do that in the past and not really have that reaction.’’
That is until Kenseth wrecked leader Joey Logano late in the race in retaliation. NASCAR suspended Kenseth two races. Some fans questioned why Patrick was fined $50,000 and docked 25 points instead of receiving a similar penalty as Kenseth. Gilliland said Patrick didn’t deserve the same penalty.
“I feel like our situation was totally different,’’ he said. “I think the Chase deal is a different story.’’
Gilliland explained what led to him hitting her and bringing out the caution on Lap 158.
“During the race I just felt like she didn’t race me the way I feel like I should be raced,’’ he said. “I was underneath her in Turns 1 and 2 and she came down and just came down like I wasn’t there and knocked my right front fender in.
“Then when we got off the corner, she tried to block me and (Justin Allgaier) all the way down to the inside. I let off so we didn’t all wreck. Then I gave her a bump going into the corner. I didn’t mean to wreck her, but she got up in the marbles and it was real slick up there like she showed me later. I didn’t even know she had hit the wall. I just thought she had gone back a l little bit. Later on the in race she came back and wreck us.’’
Patrick told NASCAR Talk after the incident last weekend that she sought retribution because “he unnecessarily, I thought, took me out at the beginning of the race. So I was just repaying the favor.’’
Patrick ran Gilliland’s car up the track about 250 laps after their first contact and then spun. She waited for Gilliland to come back around and ran into the back of his car then.