Matt Kenseth wasn’t very happy with Jeff Gordon following the USG 400 in 2006.
With four laps remaining and Kenseth leading, Gordon drove his Chevrolet to the bumper of the 2003 Winston Cup Champion and spin him out in turn two. The caution sent the race into overtime with Gordon taking his first victory at the 1.5-miler.
“That wasn’t an accident. He ran over me,” Kenseth said following the race. “On the restart, he was hanging back and NASCAR has a rule that you can’t hang back, although I’ve never seen it enforced. He was hanging back because I was a little weak on restarts.”
Gordon made a backhanded apology.
“I certainly didn’t mean to wreck him,” Gordon said. “But I didn’t mind moving him out of the way, either.”
“On long runs, we had the best car and I hate to win one like that,” Gordon said. “Matt ran a great race. I got in there hard, he blocked me a couple times and I jumped back in the gas. Matt knew he blocked me on the restart. If I wanted to spin him, I could have spun him then.”
Chicago was in Kenseth’s wheelhouse too. For the second consecutive year, he had led the most laps in the race.
The two had a bit of a history in 2006, beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier in March. It was the final lap of the Sharpie 500 and Kenseth pulled the ‘bump and run’ heading into turn four with the checkers in sight.
That move allowed Kenseth to take the lead in the standings.
Following the race, Gordon would spin Kenseth on pit road, which would later result in a penalty.
As Kenseth went to see Gordon to tell his side of the story, a shoving match an and verbal exchanged ensued. But it pretty much ended there. For the remainder of the 2006 season, the two played nice and put the incidents behind them.
With his final start at Chicagoland, Gordon, starting tenth as a result of the cancellation of qualifying, will look to grab his first win of the season at a track that brings back a storied memory.
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