Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth have a history together. Many fans remember the conflict between the two NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the 2015 playoffs, which earned Kenseth a two-race suspension and cost Logano a shot at the title.
Fast forward to Sunday’s race in Fontana with the 2018 Cup Series champion on the track and the 2003 champ up in the Fox broadcast booth. The 49-year-old driver dialed up Logano on the radio late in the race in what turned out to be an entertaining conversation that produced a debate among fans on whether Logano used inappropriate language.
Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth have conflict in 2015
In October 2015, Joey Logano made a business decision. After battling Matt Kenseth hard for the lead late in the race at Kansas, the Penske driver contacted the left rear of the Joe Gibbs Racing car going into Turn 1. The No. 20 spun and dropped out of contention. The No. 22 won the race.
Fast forward several weeks later to Martinsville. Brad Keselowski, Logano’s Penske teammate, got things started when he turned Kenseth late in the race and put him multiple laps down on the short track. Once the JGR car returned to the track, he found himself next to Logano, who was leading the race and attempting to lap him.
Kenseth allowed the No. 22 to pass, then going into Turn 1, connected with his left-rear bumper and drove Logano hard into the fence in what was clearly a deliberate act. The move ended the Penske driver’s chance at winning the race and advancing to the championship round.
NASCAR responded by suspending Kenseth for two races.
Joey Logano’s comment sparks debate
During Sunday’s Fox coverage of the Cup Series race at Fontana, Logano and Kenseth had a reunion of sorts. With Kenseth making his broadcasting debut as a guest analyst, coupled with the history between the pair, the network assigned the 49-year-old to interview Logano during the race.
“This will be fun,” Kenseth said when Mike Joy announced that the guest analyst would do the honors. “Hey Joey Logano, this is a voice you probably never thought you’d hear on your radio. This is Matt Kenseth up in the Fox Sports booth. How’s it going?”
“What’s up, friend?” Logano said with a hint of sarcasm. That single question sparked a debate among fans on social media. Some suggested that instead of saying “friend,” the Team Penske driver said “pr***,” which drew a look of surprise from Joy and a big laugh from Clint Bowyer.
Regardless of what was said, the two had an insightful conversation with Logano detailing his race thus far and his plans for the rest of the way.
Involved in a new conflict later in the race
After the race, Logano’s past conflict with Kenseth wasn’t the dispute everyone was talking about. That belonged to Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott, who made contact late in the race. And guess who was right there when it all happened? Logano.
With just over 20 laps remaining, Logano and Larson raced side-by-side when Elliott tried to pass on Larson’s outside. The No. 5 car swerved to the right and made a hard block on his No. 9 teammate, running him into the fence. And a controversy was born.
Larson’s spotter took to Twitter following the race and accepted responsibility for the move, indicating that he was more worried about Logano than Elliott and made a late call, which resulted in his driver moving too late and creating contact.
What really happened between the past two Cup Series champions, fans might not ever know for sure. But they’ll always know when and where it all started and how Joey Logano was right there when it all went down.