So. Nice finish Monday at Martinsville, huh?
On an afternoon when Denny Hamlin dominated, it appeared that a late four-tire call would doom his chances for victory. But whether by luck or by design, a late caution put Hamlin in the second row of the green-white-checker restart, and when leaders Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth tangled with one another, the race suddenly became Hamlin's once again.
Gordon, who was mere feet from winning the race prior to the GWC -- he was less than a hundred feet from the start/finish line when Kyle Busch spun, bringing out the yellow flag instead of the white and restarting the field for a two-lap sprint -- appeared to have the upper hand. But Kenseth made his play, and Gordon didn't care too much for it. You can see where Kenseth ended up in the photo above, and watch the full video here.
"The 17 got into the back of me," Gordon said. "I made sure he wasn't going to win the race after that."
"I guess it looked like it was my fault," Kenseth said with unexpected humility. "I did go in there and I did get into Jeff a little bit, really not that hard, and I got under him and everything was fine and he just took a left as hard as he could take one and ran me down all the way into the marbles. [Hey, that's us!] ... It was a dumb move on my part. I should have just finished third and collected some points and got one of our best finishes at Martinsville, but I figured I'd go for the win, which, I guess in hindsight, was probably a mistake."
Gordon finished third, Kenseth 18th. So did Gordon get away with something here? After all, if it were Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski who'd pulled that move, they'd have been run out of Martinsville on a rail. But since this is Gordon, with his elfin voice and his supposed nice-guy demeanor, he gets a pass.
Still, gotta love that fire. Unless you're a Kenseth fan, of course. Then it kind of sucks.