26 August 2012
Hamlin dances to Bristol victory
"I checked-up twice to not run over him and I learned my lesson there; I'm going to run over him every him every chance I've got from now until the end of the year, every chance I've got," raged Stewart as he waited for the #14 to repaired. When it was pointed out that he was hardy likely to get his race helmet back after throwing it at Kenseth, Stewart snapped: “I don't give a crap. The hell with the helmet.”
Kenseth felt that Stewart had been anything but accommodating to him and may have been seeking some retribution for earlier incidents between the two that occurred at Sears Point and Indianapolis.
"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," was Kenseth's take on this week's accident. "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 continued. "He's already had two in this series he's pretty much taken us out of and I told him after Indy I was going to 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."
Kenseth said that after their costly clash at Indianapolis, he had sought out Stewart after the race ended to try and clear the air and stop the matter escalating into a feud that could prove damaging to them both as the business end of the season approaches.
"It cost me seven spots in the finishing order and at Indy he was mad because he said I blocked him," said Kenseth. "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 going to race me down there, so I just did the same thing on the other end.
"I don't really see where that's 100 percent my fault or problem," he summed up. "If you look at it we did the exact same thing." As for ending up on the receiving end of Stewart's thrown helmet: "I was expecting it and it didn't really bother me. It wasn't going to hurt it any worse."
At the restart on lap 340 it was Logano heading Ambrose, Biffle, Gordon and Jamie McMurray, but the race was quickly back under caution for Dave Blaney's blown engine. Some cars came onto pit road under the yellow, leaving Biffle and Kevin Harvick on the front row for the next restart on lap 353 ahead of a Joe Gibbs Racing second row consisting of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch and a Michael Waltrip Racing third row of Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. It was Busch who got the best start and initially gave Biffle the hardest time of it for the lead, but he wasn't able to pull it off and then it was Truex coming on strong to take the lead after a feisty battle with Hamlin.
Hamlin held on to the leader, however, and finally got passed Truex on lap 407 shortly before polesitter Casey Mears found the wall in turn 2 on lap 413 which allowed most of the leading cars to come in for what should prove to be their final stop of the evening. Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers played the strategy card to stay out ahead of Jimmie Johnson, Marcos Ambrose and Jeff Gordon.
The next green flag stint lasted a mere three laps before debris from Regan Smith's car caused another stoppage, and the next green flat stint faired little better before Danica Patrick crashed on the front stretch, hitting the inside wall nose-first with a heft impact to bring out the 13th and final caution of the race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Sam Hornish Jr.
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