Matt Kenseth not proud of Charlotte post-race actions, but doesn’t regret them

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Matt Kenseth is about as calm a figure as you’ll find in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage.

But as he said today at Talladega Superspeedway when talking about his post-race scuffle with Brad Keselowski last week at Charlotte, everyone has a breaking point.

Keselowski apparently found Kenseth’s when he slammed into the side of him at the entrance to pit road just after the conclusion of the Bank of America 500.

That was part of a sequence of events that began with Keselowski and Denny Hamlin tangling on the cool-down lap and ended with Kenseth attacking Keselowski from behind between a pair of haulers.

Today, Kenseth admitted that he wasn’t happy with how he reacted in the situation. But he also said that he didn’t regret it.

Already frustrated about a late restart incident in which he said Keselowski ran him into the wall and cost him key track position, Kenseth said the pit road run-in was the last straw.

“I was mad enough about [the restart] and to come down afterwards and have your stuff off and your net down, and he comes and pulls those high school stunts – playing car wars – after the race was absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “That definitely put me over the edge.

“I don’t regret my actions. I’m not proud of them or happy about ’em or any of that, but I don’t regret them. I don’t know if I’d do anything different. The same thing would’ve went down again.”

Kenseth escaped punishment of any kind for his role in what occurred after the race at Charlotte, while Keselowski was fined $50,000 and put on probation for the next four races.

Tony Stewart, who was also hit by Keselowski on pit road and then backed his car into Keselowski’s own, got the same amount of probation and a lesser fine of $25,000.

After their fight between the haulers, Keselowski accused Kenseth of hitting him during the final yellow of the race as the latter was taking the wave-around to get back on the lead lap.

Keselowski added that the right-front damage he sustained from that caused him to fall from the Top-5 at the last restart with two laps left to 16th at the finish.

But Kenseth said today that Keselowski was “greatly exaggerating” what occurred during the wave-around.

“If you watch the video, you can see he had no marks on the right-front of his car after that instead of tearing his right-front off,” he said. “I did indeed swerve at him when I took the wave-around because he put me in the wall and totally ruined my day.

“But if you look at his car, there was absolutely no damage on [the right-front].”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.