Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers Differ On Cause Of Crash In NASCAR Phoenix Race

Matt Kenseth was certain Brian Vickers retaliated against him during Sunday's race, and said the contact between the two drivers – which put Kenseth in the wall – was intentional. But Vickers said otherwise, and NASCAR considers the matter closed.

"Obviously, it is retaliation for retaliation (at Martinsville), I guess," Kenseth said. "I was out of brakes and I was up on everybody and I saw him coming and I lifted at least 10 car lengths before where I would normally lift, and he drove in there at 165 miles per hour and cleaned us out."

Kenseth said he was "disappointed, but I expected it." (Here's the backstory on the Kenseth/Vickers history)

"You have someone that has been telling everybody for four or five weeks that as soon as he got a chance at a fast racetrack, he was going to make it hurt and wipe us out," Kenseth said. "And they do nothing about it. It was so premeditated. It just surprises me that (NASCAR) didn't do anything."

NASCAR did not penalize Vickers for the crash. NASCAR vice president Steve O'Donnell tweeted that officials "saw the incident differently."

Said NASCAR's John Darby in a statement: "Had we felt it was more than a racing incident, we would have reacted."

Kenseth's crew was upset by the wreck, though. Several crew members on the No. 17 team exchanged words with crewmen from the No. 83 team after the race, including crew chiefs Jimmy Fennig and Ryan Pemberton.

Pemberton walked across the garage to Kenseth's hauler after the race to talk with Fennig, who reacted angrily and began pointing fingers when Pemberton arrived.

"I'm with you!" Pemberton yelled, trying to diffuse the situation.

The two crew chiefs then walked out of earshot and continued their animated discussion for several minutes. Afterward, Fennig went to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hauler and pleaded his case to NASCAR's Robin Pemberton (the brother of Ryan Pemberton).

Fennig declined comment afterward.

Vickers, though, told The Associated Press that his actions were unintentional.

"I don't know what happened," Vickers told the AP"He just lifted halfway down the backstretch. I was planning on paying him back, but he just lifted halfway down the backstretch. He just stopped. I don't know why.

"If he wants to doubt us, that's fine. He wrecked me at Martinsville, he got wrecked here, but it actually wasn't (payback). I'm not saying I wasn't going to pay him back, but I'm just saying that wasn't it."

Later in the race, Kenseth returned to the track and had a chance to retaliate against Vickers. But instead, he just raced hard with the Red Bull Racing driver for a moment and let him go.

So why didn't Kenseth pay Vickers back?

"I don't stoop to that level," Kenseth said. "... I would never sit down there and wait for somebody and take a cheap shot like that. You can hurt someone like that and that isn't sportsmanlike and that isn't something I would do."

Kenseth questioned NASCAR as to why officials didn't park Vickers after the incident.

"We aren't racing street stocks at a quarter-mile track," he said, "so they need to figure out how to get the drivers to settle their differences in a different way and talk about it or figure it out or do something instead of using your car as a battering ram somewhere this fast."

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