FORT WORTH, Texas – Matt Kenseth sent a not-so-subtle message – or a shot, really – at Team Penske and NASCAR chairman Brian France after Jimmie Johnson won Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Johnson led the final four laps after seizing first from Brad Keselowski, who dominated in leading 312 of 334 laps. Keselowski is the teammate of Joey Logano, whom Kenseth intentionally wrecked at Martinsville Speedway and earned a two-race suspension that began this weekend.
In a situation similar to Johnson and Keselowski at Texas, Logano made contact with Kenseth while racing for the lead with five laps remaining last month at Kansas Speedway. Logano won while Kenseth spun, essentially cementing his elimination from the playoffs.
France labeled Logano’s winning move as “quintessential NASCAR,” which prompted Kenseth to respond with this congratulatory tweet Sunday to Johnson.
Johnson smiled when he was relayed Kenseth’s salute, chuckling at the use of “quintessential.”
“That’s a nice buzz word,” the six-time series champion said. “We always thought (Kenseth) was boring and quiet. He’s always on fire. No, thank you, buddy. I don’t know how to even answer that, to be honest.”
Johnson also praised Keselowski for clean racing.
“Honestly, I race people how they race me,” Johnson said. Brad’s always raced me clean and hard. He did that again today. We both showed each other that same respect.
“What’s gone on between other drivers the last few weeks has no bearing on myself. You really handle your own situation. How people treat you, how respectfully they race you. We just had a good, hard race today.”
Erik Jones finished 12th at Texas in Kenseth’s No. 20 Toyota. He will substitute for the 2003 Sprint Cup champion again at Phoenix, and Kenseth will return for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.