Matt Kenseth was up front for most of Sunday’s race at Phoenix. However as the race went on, concerns about his breaks had his driving the high line and fading though the field. While most drivers took this as an opportunity to drive under Kenseth and gain a position one driver found this to be a great time to run Kenseth into the wall.
“I can’t put him in the “driver” category.” stated Kyle Petty when he was asked on twitter what other drivers he compared Brian Vickers to.
Brian Vickers has told everyone he was going to give Matt Kenseth payback. Vickers said he would vow to stop Kenseth from winning the 2011 Sprint Cup title after the two made contact in Martinsville. Kenseth’s chances at winning the Sprint Cup went from good to nonexistent at Martinsville after he cut a tire and collected the #18 of Kyle Busch.
Still Vickers wanted everyone to know he had Matt Kenseth in his cross hairs. He told Lee Spencer of Foxsports thathis fued with Kenseth was “It’s not over for me,” as the series shifted to Texas.
After hearing those comments director of competion John Darby downplayed the incident saying that NASCAR would not step in unless they are given reason to.
Then during the Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Kyle Busch wrecked competitor Ron Hornaday under caution. This action resulted in being parked for the rest of the weekend and subsequently cost Busch the sponsorship of M&M’s for the final two Cup races. In addition Busch was removed from the final Nationwide race at Homestead by request of sponsor Z-line. Considering these events it was hard to believe that anyone would plan payback this week.
So when Vickers sent Kenseth to the wall on Sunday it seemed like the time for NASCAR to step in. Yet they didn’t.
“You have someone that has been telling everybody for four or five weeks that as soon as he got a chance at a fast racetrack, he was going to make it hurt and wipe us out,” Kenseth said. “And they do nothing about it. It was so premeditated. It just surprises me that (NASCAR) didn’t do anything.”
Kenseth’s car was destroyed and while giving an interview in the broken car was surprised by the lack of response from NASCAR. Kenseth’s crew chief Jimmy Fenig had words with Ryan Pemberton who acts as the crew chief of the #83. Ryan Pemberton is the brother to Robin Pemberton the vice president of competition for NASCAR.
Vickers responded after the race. “If he wants to doubt us, that’s fine. He wrecked me at Martinsville, he got wrecked here, but it actually wasn’t (payback). I’m not saying I wasn’t going to pay him back, but I’m just saying that wasn’t it.” Whether that means Vickers is still planning what he would consider payback or not is unclear.
When asked by NASCAR took no action Darby again down played incidents between the two drivers. “Had we felt it was more than a racing incident, we would have reacted.”
Red Bull, the team for which Vickers drives for, is shutting down at the end of the season leaving Vickers without a ride in 2012. With few openings left, it’s possible that Vickers could be out of Sprint Cup next season.
“I don’t stoop to that level” said Kenseth after the race responding to why he did not wreck Vickers.