Tuesday, November 03, 2015

France Hints At Possible Kenseth Sanctions

NASCAR Chairman and CO Brian France said today that the sanctioning body wants to prevent  drivers from “taking matters into their own hands” as Matt Kenseth did when he took out leader Joey Logano in the late going of Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

Kenseth wrecked Logano in apparent retaliation for an incident two weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway when Kenseth spun out of the lead following contact from Logano on the final lap. Speaking on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s The Morning Drive, France said that situation was different from Sunday’s race at Martinsville.  

“Late in a race, we expect drivers to take chances to win,” he said. “They’ve got the skill to do it. We expect them to race hard. Blocking is part of this game, as Matt was doing (in Kansas), and contact will happen in NASCAR from time to time. That’s really all that was. The unfortunate thing for Matt is that he had a lot of on the line that day. It’s understandable the disappointment he had. Late in that race, a faster car is behind you and you’re blocking. There’s some contact and you get the short end of it and you go around. That was an entirely different situation than Martinsville.”

France said he will not allow the sport to deteriorate into vigilante justice, with drivers meting out punishment for perceived on-track slights.  

“What we’re not going to do is to take the style of NASCAR and parlay that into something where one driver or another believes the way to pay back somebody for something that happened is to take matters into their own hands. Obviously, we won’t be accepting that. The way to pay drivers back is to race them hard. When someone races you hard, you race them hard. If they’re going to give you no inches late in the race, then that’s how you’re going to race them. That’s NASCAR.

“What happened on Sunday, that’s not quite the way we would have liked to have seen that turn out.”

France said that while NASCAR strives to rule fairly and consistently in matters such as this, “all situations are different and that’s hard to follow sometimes. When you don’t have all the facts and you want to say, `That thing between so-and-so at that track that was the same exact thing,’ they seldom are.

“They’re never the same, but there (are) similarities,” said France. “We’ll take some of the history that we have ruled on in the past, because we want to be as consistent as we can. But remember, this (Chase) format is much different than it’s ever been and there is more on the line. We knew when this format was developed that it would present some unique situations for drivers to take more chances… and make the job of officiating the events more difficult for us. We understood that.”
France said he wants drivers to understand that “at the end of the day, there’s a real clear set of requirements to be a NASCAR driver… a set of rules.

“What we want to prevent (from) happening is drivers… to take matters into their own hands and begin to control the outcome of races. When that happens, that’s a very serious thing for us, and we’ll be dealing with that.”

He said Kenseth’s status as a past Sprint Cup Series champion will not impact the sanctioning body’s decision, adding, “(Kenseth is) driving the car, he makes those decisions. It doesn’t matter somebody’s background. It matters what they did that day. We will make sure that what is the acceptable style of racing is always a part of NASCAR and what is not, will not. We have lots of ways to make sure. We will deal with that as we always have, very clearly and very carefully.

“We’ll get it right. That’s our job to do that.”

An announcement on possible penalties is expected later today.


  1. Steve W.2:29 PM

    Poor guy can't even keep his story straight. After Kansas he praised Logano for taking out a competitor, even said it was smart. Now it's "contact will happen in NASCAR from time to time. That’s really all that was."

    Everyone knows Logano turned Kenseth on purpose, even France admitted so but is now trying to pretend it was just a little incidental contact.

    Very sad that NASCAR's no calls on Logano and Harvick will now cause them to throw the book at Kenseth to try and act like they are in control of the issues they have created.

  2. Anonymous2:30 PM

    I can understand a suspension for Matt provided NASCAR holds ALL drivers to the same standards to which, sadly in the past, NASCAR has proven they are not always willing to do. During the same race Danica intentionally tried to wreck another driver. Should she not receive the same penalties that Matt gets or will NASCAR waffle and let her off the hook because the car she tried to ambush was not the lead car? I can really understand NASCAR not wanting this type of racing to continue. Although exciting to watch, it really benefits no one in the long. Lead car or not, drivers can still be hurt and expensive equipment destroyed. I guess we will see.

  3. maddmike12:35 PM

    , I have one question...Will Nascar give Danica Patrick the same punishment that they give Matt? She did the same thing, came out of the garage, laps down and then wrecked David Gilliland because she was pissed...

  4. Until nascar changes their minds on the rules next week.....

  5. Brandon in TN3:20 PM

    His entire statement kinda goes against "Boys have at it."

  6. NASCAR has elevated itself to the position of God. They've gone too far and created too.any rules. I for one want to go back to the old days when men raced cars fast as they could go. Now days spoiled rich kids drive cars daddy helped pay for not build .and NASCAR tells then how fast and how to drive.
    Matt Kenseth has my respect not NASCAR.

  7. Anonymous3:57 PM

    Self destruction at it's best...

  8. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Brian must have got a call from Pennzoil that they didn't get enough 'impressions' during the race. I think Matt made an impression on Joey just like Edwards made one on Keselowski a few years ago. No matter what France says or does, the fans knew the right thing had been done on Sunday.

  9. Anonymous1:46 PM

    I will use the Humpy Wheeler theory: 1/3 of the fans come to see a good race, 1/3 of the fans come to see a good wreck and 1/3 of the fans come to see a good fight, so I want all my fans happy when they leave tonight!