Tony Stewart suffered costly right-rear damage after an incident with Greg Biffle on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the two drivers couldn't reach a consensus on who was to blame afterward.
With a huge run on Stewart with 33 laps to go, Biffle made a move to the outside exiting Turn 4 but caught the outside wall and made contact with the right side of Stewart's car. The contact cut the left front tire and sent the No. 16 hard into the outside wall, ending any chance Biffle had at a solid finish.
On the team radio, Biffle accused Stewart of running him "up into the fence," while Stewart claimed Biffle tried to wreck him.
"I had been good all night at the top down there and I had a hell of a run," Biffle said after his 15th-place finish. "I was coming on him like crazy and he just came off there and didn't leave enough room. (He) left about three-quarters of a car length.
"When I came off the wall, we were kind of hooked together because my left front was jammed in his right rear. Halfway down the frontstretch we were hooked together until I got off of him. Obviously, that's what cut the tire."
Stewart said he didn't know exactly what happened, but wasn't happy about it in the immediate aftermath on the team radio. At the time, he said Biffle intentionally tried to wreck him but was calmer after the race.
"I don't know if he hit the wall and got into us and couldn't get off of us or if...he made contact in (Turn) 3," Stewart said after the race. "I didn't try to put him in a bad spot. So I don't know if he thought we did something wrong or not. I honestly don't think we did anything wrong. If I did, I'm sorry."
Biffle denied the second contact was retaliation or any expression of frustration and said, "I would've just wrecked him if that was the case."
As if Biffle's night was not bad enough, he made contact with something flying through the air with about 15 laps to go in the race. The object, which he guessed was a heavy piece of lead, "smashed" the center brace in the window and knocked out the one in front of the driver's seat.
Saturday night's race was a pretty good summation of Biffle's overall season. With 12 finishes outside the top 30 and 17 finishes of 15th or worse, Biffle is 16th in points. Poor luck, mistakes on pit road and a host of other things have consistently hurt the team's results.
"We didn't make it on fuel; caution came out; lug nut," he said, reflecting on the season.
Unlike Biffle, Stewart is still alive in the points race and is 24 points behind Chase leader Carl Edwards.
"We still have half of the Chase races to go," Stewart said. "A lot can happen."