Richard Petty: Matt Kenseth was ‘lucky’ to get two-race suspension for wrecking Joey Logano

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – While Matt Kenseth’s intentional wreck of Joey Logano has been deemed as an “old-school” maneuver, one NASCAR legend doesn’t recall it being so common in bygone eras.

“I don’t ever remember but one or two occasions where that happened, where somebody just deliberately took somebody out,” seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty said Saturday morning at Phoenix International Raceway. “I took people out, and they took me out, and it was deliberate, but it wasn’t that brazen.  We’d do it on the backstretch where nobody could see us.”

Kenseth received a two-race suspension, which concludes with Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix. Petty condoned the punishment and said the 2003 champion “got out lucky with two races instead of three,” adding there was little NASCAR could have done to defuse the situation and prevent the retribution (Kenseth felt wronged after he was spun from the lead by  Logano at Kansas Speedway last month).

“Everybody was anticipating something to happen, but you didn’t know what it was going to be,” Petty said. “They couldn’t get ahead of that deal.  There was no way to get ahead of it.”

Petty, who recorded a record 200 victories in a career spanning 1958-1992, said he didn’t let feuds linger with rivals.

“I went straight to them and said, ‘OK, let’s get this crap straight.’  The deal was I did it in the heat of the game.  As soon as the race was over I’d go find whoever it was, and we’d have it out right there.  We didn’t have all of (the news media) wandering around, so we could do it behind the truck or in the truck, and nobody ever really saw what was going on.”