Stewart Sends Helmet, Message To Kenseth At Bristol
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
So, was the throw that Tony Stewart made with his helmet at Matt Kenseth after a wreck at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night a strike? Depends upon where Stewart was aiming, one would have to assume.
For Kenseth, it was not a curve ball, however. He knew it was coming.
“I was expecting it,” Kenseth said. “I’ve seen that for awhile. I was expecting it and it didn’t really bother me. It wasn’t going to hurt it (his damaged car) any worse.”
Stewart warned Kenseth to expect more from him. Lots more between now and the end of the season.
The incident occurred on lap 333:
Stewart and Kenseth were up front and racing for the lead. And they wrecked. Stewart’s car was immobilized by the wreck. Kenseth kept going. As Kenseth was coming out of pit lane, Stewart was standing near the head of the wall that separates the pits from the track.
Stewart grabbed his helmet with both hands, wound up and let go with the heater. The helmet made impact just to the inside side of the right headlight decal on Kenseth’s car.
Kenseth pleaded innocent to doing anything worthy of being a beanball target.
“I’m a little confused,” the Roush Fenway Racing driver said. “I was running the top leading and he got a run and he went into turn one like I wasn’t there and just went straight to the fence. If I wouldn’t have lifted, like he chose not to do the next corner, we would have wrecked, so I let him have it and I got a run back, drove all the way alongside of him and we just kept going.
“I mean, I lifted down there or else we would have wrecked and he chose not to lift and wrecked us both, so I don’t know. He’s already had two in this series he’s pretty much taken us out of and I told him after Indy I was gonna race him the way he raced me and I did the exact same thing down there that he did down there – the exact same thing, except he didn’t give it to me. I guess he just wanted to do all the taking, so that’s where we ended up.”
Stewart, a driver of fewer words than Kenseth (if that’s possible) said, “We weren’t that great of a race car. But we were definitely faster than that after that restart. I checked-up twice to not run over him.”
Stewart also revealed future plans.
“I learned my lesson there,” the three-time and defending champion said. “I’m going to run over him every him every chance I’ve got from now ‘til the end of the year, every chance I’ve got.”
Stewart’s plans may change later in the week – on the day that NASCAR issues penalties. The helmet toss – made left-handed, by the way – could result in probation.
Kenseth, informed of Stewart’s plans, issued a whatever to his new WFF.
“Yeah, that’s fine,” the former Cup champion said. “Look, Tony is probably the greatest race car driver in the garage. I don’t really have anything bad to say about Tony. On the race track for years and years and years we’ve had tons of respect for each other and, for whatever reason this year, he ran me off the track at Sears Point and said he was sorry.
“It cost me seven spots in the finishing order and at Indy he was mad because he said I blocked him and I asked for five minutes of his time to clear the air and he wouldn’t give it to me and pretty much just got cussed out and knocked my whole side off and put us in position to get wrecked, so I just said, ‘OK, that’s fine. I’m just going to race you the same way you race me,’ and he showed me how he was gonna race me down there, so I just did the same thing on the other end. So I don’t know. If you look at it we did the exact same thing, it’s just that he didn’t lift so I don’t really see where that’s 100 percent my fault or problem.”
Assessing things like “faults” and “problems” always involves personal opinion. The opinion here, from a former member of the Baseball Writers Association of America: While a bit low and to the outside, a definite strike.
– Jim Pedley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments