Matt Kenseth is conflicted on the marketing of his infamous wreck with Joey Logano


CHARLOTTE — Caught in the middle of the latest episode in a long-running controversy over whether tracks should use wrecks to promote NASCAR, Matt Kenseth can see both sides.

“If it’s so bad, you get suspended, if it’s that bad of an act, maybe it shouldn’t be used to profit from it,” the Joe Gibbs Racing veteran said Wednesday . “Because I certainly didn’t profit from it.

“But on the other hand, a lot of people come to see controversy and action and wrecks. That’s what the fans love.”

Martinsville Speedway is banking on that mass appeal to sell tickets for Sunday’s STP 500. The 0.526-mile track’s advertising campaign heavily has featured footage of Kenseth’s intentional wreck of Joey Logano in the Nov. 1 race.

Kenseth was nine laps down when his No. 20 Toyota hooked Logano’s No. 22 Ford from the lead and into the Turn 1 wall. Logano, who was 50 laps from scoring his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup victory after sweeping the second round of the playoffs, finished 37th and never recovered in his bid for the title.

Harshly condemning Kenseth for the crash, NASCAR reacted swiftly by suspending the 2003 series champion for two races. The punishment effectively was codified this year with new language added to the rulebook that specified penalties for affecting Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders.

That hasn’t stopped Martinsville, though, from promoting a good time by using bad behavior. Track president Clay Campbell defended the decision to use the crash in advertising earlier this week, and Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said it was “fair game” if the drama wasn’t fabricated. Gossage has used postrace feuds and fights in marketing his races.

Campbell said the “golden rule” is tracks don’t cross the line of advertising with crashes that involved serious injuries, noting that the 1979 Daytona 500 ended with the fistfight between Cale Yarborough and Bobby and Donnie Allison that has been featured in incessant NASCAR replays.

But Kenseth also noted the issue is blurred because Martinsville’s parent company is International Speedway Corp., which is controlled by the France family that founded NASCAR. The companies share a headquarters in Daytona Beach., Fla., further muddying the lines of right and wrong.

“It’s hard to see both sides of it, because obviously it’s an ISC track, which is basically NASCAR,” Kenseth said. “So I don’t know. I understand if I’m the promoter. I’d do the same thing. I’m trying to put people in the stands and controversy and action. I can’t blame them, but it seems kind of … not what I’d expect if it’s really that bad of an act.”

Regardless of how the wreck was perceived, there is no debating its resonance.

How much does Kenseth hear from fans asking him about the incident?

“Every week,” he said. “Pretty much every week all winter.”

Portland Xfinity race results, driver points

Portland Xfinity results
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Cole Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when the top three cars made contact and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. Custer is the 10th different winner in 13 races this season.

MORE: Portland Xfinity race results

MORE: Driver points after Portland Xfinity race

JR Motorsports took the next three spots: Justin Allgaier placed second, Sam Mayer was third and Josh Berry was fourth. Austin Hill completed the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek remains the points leader after 13 races. He has a 14-point lead on Hill. Nemechek leads Allgaier by 44 points.

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Portland in overtime


Cole Custer held off Justin Allgaier at the finish to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in overtime at Portland International Raceway. It is Custer’s first victory of the season.

JR Motorsports placed second, third and fourth with Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry. Austin Hill finished fifth.

MORE: Race results, driver points

Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when Parker Kligerman, who restarted third, attempted to pass Allgaier, who was leading. Sheldon Creed was on the outside of Allgaier. All three cars made contact entering Turn 1, allowing Custer to slip by. Creed finished seventh. Kligerman placed 14th.

Custer won the second stage when John Hunter Nemechek made contact with Creed’s car while racing for the lead on the final lap of the stage. The contact spun Creed and Custer inched by Nemechek at the line.

Early in the final stage, Creed gained revenge with contact that spun Nemechek, who went on to finish 10th. A few laps later, Nemechek and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith had issues. Smith spun Nemechek. After getting back around, Nemechek quickly caught Smith and turned into Smith’s car, damaging it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Despite the contact on the overtime restart, runner-up Justin Allgaier managed to score his fourth consecutive top-three finish. … Sam Mayer’s third-place finish is his best on a road course. … Austin Hill’s fifth-place finish gives him four consecutive top-five results.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished 33rd after a fire in his car. … Riley Herbst placed 32nd after an engine issue. After opening the season with six top 10s in a row, Herbst has gone seven races in a row without a top 10.

NEXT: The series competes June 10 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

Truck race results at WWT Raceway: Grant Enfinger wins


Grant Enfinger took the lead when the leaders wrecked in the final laps and held off the field in overtime to win Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It is Enfinger’s second win in the last five races. He also collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the Triple Truck Challenge.

MORE: Truck race results

MORE: Driver points after WWT Raceway

Christian Eckes finished second and was followed by Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy.

Ty Majeski and Zane Smith wrecked while racing for the lead with six laps to go. Majeski, running on the inside of Smith, slid up the track and clipped Smith’s truck. Both hit the wall. That put Enfinger in the lead.

Smith finished 20th. Majeski placed 30th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger’s victory is his fourth top 10 in the last five races. … Carson Hocevar’s fourth-place finish is his fourth consecutive top-five result. … Stewart Friesen’s third-place finish moved him into a playoff spot with four races left in the regular season. … Matt DiBenedetto‘s sixth-place finish is his third consecutive top 10. … Jesse Love finished ninth in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski had a chance to take the points lead with series leader Corey Heim out because of illness, but Majeski’s 30th-place finish after running at the front most of the day, leaves him behind Heim. … Hailie Deegan finished 32nd after contact sent her truck into the wall hard. … After finishing a career-high third last week at Charlotte, Dean Thompson placed 34th Saturday due to an engine issue.

NEXT: The series races June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1)

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole


Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.