Matt Kenseth Loses Ground In NASCAR Chase After Rough Day At Martinsville

For the first half of Sunday's race at Martinsville, it appeared as if Matt Kenseth was going to gain ground in the championship battle on his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards, who was struggling at the back of the pack. 

But as the race moved into the closing stages, Kenseth's car began to slip. And then he found Brian Vickers. 

Already involved in multiple incidents throughout the afternoon, Vickers raced Kenseth hard for the eighth spot with less than 50 laps to go. After an intense side-by-side battle, Kenseth spun Vickers, bringing out the 15th caution of the day. 

"He just kept hitting me in the door," Kenseth said of the incident. "We're at Martinsville and I kept giving him the bottom. Obviously, I'm not going to roll over and let him go with 40 (laps) to go, or whatever it was. He just kept driving in harder and harder. He slammed me in the door at least five times and ran me up into the marbles, and I was just tired of it. So I just spun him out."

Kenseth's struggles were not over, however, as he cut a tire going into the third corner on Lap 465. Collecting fellow Chase driver Kyle Busch, Kenseth shot up the track and was spun into the outside wall after contact with Joey Logano. 

The No. 17 went behind the wall with significant damage to the left rear, as his team scrambled to put his Ford back together and send it back on the track. 

"I really, honestly don't know what happened," he said. "I thought I left (Kyle) enough room. I don't know if I slid up into him, or what happened, but somehow we hit off of (Turn) 2 and it cut my tire. It ruined my day, along with his, and whoever else was collected in that mess."

Once the team was able to make repairs, his in-race feud with Vickers continued. 

With less than five laps to go, Vickers drove down the track and tried to get into the back of Kenseth's slowed No. 17 car. Vickers finally put an end to his destructive day, while Kenseth was able to continue, finishing 31st. 

Kenseth said the initial incident with Vickers "didn't help" the day, but didn't ruin his day, as he was already struggling with a loose car on older tires.

Despite their multiple incidents throughout the race, Kenseth said he has no plans of talking with Vickers. 

"What are you going to talk about? I'm sure he'll come down and yell or something," he said. "What are you going to do? He already destroyed our car again. I don't know. He knows why I spun him out, he ran into me about 10 times, so obviously it wasn't the first time, looking at his car."

Vickers never approached Kenseth after the race and was unavailable for comment.

The poor finish dropped Kenseth to fifth in the Chase standings, 36 points behind Carl Edwards with only three races left in the championship battle. 

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