Upset that he and Matt Kenseth wrecked while racing for the lead in Saturday night's Irwin Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart provided a moment that will likely make its way to commercials everywhere the remainder of the NASCAR season.
Stewart waited for Kenseth's car to come back around the track and launched a two-handed toss of his helmet that landed on the nose of Kenseth's car. Stewart vowed he would wreck Kenseth every chance he got the remainder of the year.
Kenseth was asked about the racing at Bristol and the helmet throw after the race. His responses:
Q: What happened with Stewart?
Kenseth: I’m a little confused. 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.
Q: He said he's going to run through you every chance he gets.
Kenseth: Yeah, that’s fine.
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 gonna 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
Q: What did you think when you saw the helmet coming at you?
Kenseth: I was expecting it. I’ve seen that for
awhile. I was expecting it and it didn’t really bother me.
It wasn’t gonna hurt it any worse.
Q: Did the changes to the top of the track play into what happened or would you guys have raced like that regardless?
Kenseth: I don’t know. I didn’t want to race him
like that and I never like to really race people like that. If he
would have just stayed around the bottom for two laps and passed me clean, I
would have just probably lifted and let him up in line, but, like I said, the
first shot he had he just went straight like I wasn’t even there and went
straight to the top groove, and it was either lift or wreck him and I lifted, so
he just chose to do the opposite at the other end. The top really
came in for whatever reason. It’s so smooth up there that it built
a lot of rubber and that was the only groove. It was pretty much a
one-groove track because the top actually got really good at the end.