HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Team owner Joe Gibbs said Thursday that he is looking forward to having driver Matt Kenseth back at the race track this weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season comes to an end. NASCAR suspended Kenseth , the 2003 NASCAR premier series champion, for two races after he intentionally took out Team Penske driver Joey Logano during a race Nov. 1 at Martinsville Speedway . Kenseth had crashed after contact from Logano two weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway . Each incident effectively ended the Chase hopes for the two drivers. "It's great having Matt back in there because it's almost like you're missing part of the family when somebody -- (when) one of our drivers is not there," Gibbs said during Championship 4 media day activities here. " … Having him back, yeah, we've talked about that, and he just kind of shared some things with me, and then I shared some things with him. It's the kind of things between the two of us, but I think he felt like the meeting was very beneficial, and I know I felt the same way." Kenseth is one of four Sprint Cup Series drivers competing for JGR, along with Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards . All four made this year's 16-team Chase field. Only Busch has made it into the final round of four. In addition to the two-race suspension, NASCAR officials also placed Kenseth on probation for six months, a move that was ultimately reduced to Dec. 31, 2015 upon final appeal. Kenseth met with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France earlier this week, and Gibbs also met with France separately. Gibbs said he has spoken by phone with Roger Penske, owner of the Logano and Keselowski entries. The Martinsville incident was a product of something that "started weeks before,' Gibbs said when asked if he approved of Kenseth's actions. "To be truthful, I don't tell drivers about their relationship with other drivers and kind of what happens on the race track. I'll leave that up to them. But I think in this case I kind of stated what I felt before, and I'm going to leave that there." "I think there are certain things that have happened in the past where you would say, ‘hey, this is definitely wrong.' I know I have with drivers, and said, ‘look, this is not something we're all about,' and we have all those kinds of discussions. You go through some tough things. "And then there are other times that you kind of feel like, 'hey, it's our responsibility, we're a team, and we're going to stand up for each other.'" NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Erik Jones handled the driving duties for the No. 20 team during Kenseth's absence, finishing 12th at Texas and 19th at Phoenix.
NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth met Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina, in advance of the driver's return to the track following a two-race suspension. France was "pleased" with the dialogue, according to a tweet from NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes. NASCAR's Brian France met with Matt Kenseth today in CLT. Brian was pleased with the dialogue. Now all focus is on Ford Championship Weekend — Brett Jewkes (@BJewkes) November 16, 2015 Kenseth was suspended for the past two races following his role in an on-track incident with Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway . He will return to the No. 20 Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford EcoBoost 400 . "NASCAR has asked the driver of the 20 to meet with Chairman and CEO Brian France," NASCAR Vice President David Higdon confirmed earlier Monday, and the two got together shortly thereafter. Kenseth tweeted later Monday afternoon, noting that he's "glad to have all this behind (him)." Glad to have all this behind me. I'm looking forward to homestead! #team20 #jgr — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) November 16, 2015 France and NASCAR handed down the suspension, which was upheld on appeals, following Kenseth's wreck of race leader Joey Logano in the Eliminator Round opener. The two had previous on-track run-ins, and Kenseth -- nearly 10 laps down at the time -- drove Logano into the wall with less than 50 laps remaining. Logano was eliminated from the postseason following Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway . Kenseth had been eliminated the week before Martinsville. In addition to his suspension, Kenseth is on probation for the rest of 2015.
RELATED: Watch video of the Martinsville incident HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Rivals Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano met with NASCAR officials Friday morning before opening Sprint Cup Series practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Kenseth , returning from a two-race suspension for NASCAR's season-ending weekend, told a small group of reporters that the two drivers met in the hopes of moving past their escalated feud during this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. NASCAR.com independently confirmed that such a meeting took place. "Everything will be fine there," Kenseth told reporters, making his first remarks since two penalties appeals were denied Nov. 5. "I wish none of it would have happened obviously. There's probably certain things we'll never totally agree on, but I think long term it probably will be fine, and I think we will work it all out." Logano, who landed the second starting spot for the season finale in Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying, was brief in his comments about the meeting, joking, "We haven't had enough of this yet?" "It was good," Logano added. "NASCAR had us sit down and talk it out a little bit and I thought that was good for us to do." Friday's practice session marked the first time that Kenseth and Logano shared the same race track since their Nov. 1 altercation at Martinsville Speedway . During that event, a laps-down Kenseth intentionally wrecked race leader Logano in the late stages, a run-in that ended his three-race win streak and dealt a serious blow to Logano's bid for his first premier-series championship. Logano was eliminated from title contention two weeks later at Phoenix International Raceway . Kenseth was unapologetic for his actions during a phone interview with the Associated Press last weekend, saying he couldn't recall a heightened rivalry in the sport where NASCAR officials did not intervene before it reached a tipping point. NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France touched on the topic during Friday's State of the Sport address, just four days after meeting with Kenseth and car owner Joe Gibbs at the team's Huntersville, North Carolina, race shop. "What we were coming down here to a championship weekend, and I wanted to make sure that that matter was behind us with Matt , with Joe Gibbs and so on," France said. "I'm assured that it is. We had a good conversation about what had happened and what the thinking was or whatever you want to call Matt's actions, and we talked about that. And it was a good conversation." Gibbs, speaking Thursday during media availabilities ahead of Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM), said that he also found the conversations productive. "I think going forward, we had good meetings," Gibbs said. "I think we're all in a good place right now. I think Matt is, too, and I appreciated getting a chance to meet with Brian, and I think Matt did, too, and I think we're going to put all that behind us, and we're going to go racing."
MORE: Official release on decision " Kenseth suspended for two races CONCORD, N.C. -- Matt Kenseth 's suspension from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition was upheld Thursday after a final appeal. The original probation period given was amended from six months to now through Dec. 31, 2015. The ruling issued by National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss at the NASCAR Research & Development Center will keep Kenseth out of the next two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, at Texas this weekend and Phoenix the next. Moss' decision comes after a three-member panel upheld Kenseth's behavioral penalties -- stemming from his on-track fracas with rival Joey Logano last weekend at Martinsville Speedway -- during Thursday's initial appeals hearing. Moss' ruling is final. The burden of proof rested with Kenseth for the final appeal. In the first hearing, the burden of proof was NASCAR's responsibility. Earlier Thursday, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel ruled that Kenseth did not provide sufficient evidence to overturn his suspension or six-month probation for the on-track incident. The rotating three-member panel for the initial hearing was composed of Ken Clapp, NASCAR's vice president of marketing development until his retirement in 1999; Bill Mullis, a former driver and the owner of Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.; and Dale Pinilis, longtime operator of historic Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. The final appeal was only the third hearing overseen by Moss, a former Gulfstream Aerospace executive who joined the NASCAR appeals process last year. Moss also heard the final appeal for behavioral penalties against driver Kurt Busch in February, and the last appeal for technical penalties against Richard Childress Racing 's No. 31 team in May. Moss upheld the decision of the three-member panel in both instances. Kenseth offered a smile as he arrived at the R&D Center on Thursday morning at approximately 8:10 a.m. ET, followed minutes later by team owner Joe Gibbs for the 9 a.m. hearing. RELATED: France explains reasoning behind penalty On Tuesday, NASCAR suspended Kenseth for the next two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs for his role in a crash with Logano in the late stages of Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway . Kenseth was also placed on probation for six months. Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota, several laps down, made heavy contact with Logano's race-leading Team Penske No. 22 Ford, sending both cars into the Turn 1 wall. NASCAR competition officials parked Kenseth for the remainder of the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 . Kenseth , Gibbs and No. 20 crew chief Jason Ratcliff were each summoned to the NASCAR officials' hauler for post-race consultation. Kenseth was eliminated from championship eligibility during the three-race Contender Round in large part because of an on-track run-in with Logano at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 18. Contact from Logano nudged race leader Kenseth into a late-race spin, ending his bid for an automatic berth in the Chase's next round. WHAT TRANSPIRED: Kansas " Martinsville Kenseth expressed frustration at Logano's unapologetic stance after the incident, saying he "should have stopped running his mouth, A, and No. 2, he's lying when he said he didn't do it on purpose." Kenseth's irritation mounted in the two races that followed -- at Talladega, when Logano hindered his entry to pit road during a mid-race stop; and at Martinsville as Logano and teammate Brad Keselowski orchestrated their maneuvers in a series of mid-race restarts. The Penske drivers' arrangement on restarts was partially to blame for a crash with 65 laps remaining, bottling up the front-runners and snaring Kenseth , Keselowski and Kurt Busch with the most damage. Kenseth's No. 20 returned to the track after repairs, running at reduced pace before his wreck with Logano at the front of the field. Joe Gibbs Racing released a statement shortly after Tuesday's penalty was issued, saying Kenseth would appeal the severity of the punishment.
RELATED: Logano speaks about Kenseth penalty FORT WORTH, Texas – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers arrived at Texas Motor Speedway Friday still grappling with the fallout from last weekend's crash involving Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano , two of this season's most successful competitors. Kenseth ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), was suspended for two races for crashing into Logano ( Team Penske ) with less than 50 laps remaining in Sunday's Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway . Logano was the race leader at the time of the crash; Kenseth was nine laps down. Logano, who swept all three races in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , was going for a fourth consecutive victory. Kenseth had been eliminated from Chase contention the previous weekend. "I guess the implications aren't really clear on how things work and what kind of trouble you can get yourself into," fellow Chase competitor Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) said Friday at Texas. "Racing is racing. Guys have wrecked each other since racing started, OK? That's not going to change. Guys get mad all the time. "I think people will go about it differently now because of what happened this week, for sure. How far that goes, I'm not real sure. We'll have to wait and see." Logano leads the series in wins this season with six; Kenseth has five victories. The Martinsville incident dropped Logano to last among the eight drivers trying to qualify for the four who will compete for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway later this month. To earn a Championship Round spot for the second consecutive year, Logano will likely have to win either this weekend's AAA Texas 500 or next week's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . Logano said he didn't know if NASCAR's actions could change how some drivers react in certain situations, but added that it likely won't alter his own. "Probably not," the 25-year-old said. "Does it change the way other people would handle a situation? I can't answer that. I don't know. "I think we all did learn what NASCAR's stance is on this and that is something we will all put in our memory bank and know that going into the future." MORE: Kenseth's two-race suspension upheld Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon , winner of the Martinsville race and for now the only driver qualified to compete for the Championship 4, said he understood the reasoning behind the severity of the penalty. "NASCAR wanted there to be a line and I like it when they draw a line," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "... We don't like judgment calls. We like things to be clear. And I think we're all pretty clear now. "Yeah, it's gotten the people talking. It's gotten the media talking and the fans talking and it's created only more build-up to what's already a very exciting Chase format and close to the season. I don't want to say I look at it as a positive, I just think that it does bring more eyes to the sport and then they can choose and decide how they go from there." Kenseth will return to the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the season-finale at Homestead. In his absence, Erik Jones will handle the driving duties for the team. Jones will start sixth in Sunday's race. Carl Edwards , who joined JGR prior to the start of the 2015 season, said he'd spoken to Kenseth briefly. That his teammate was suspended, he said, "was a shock." "I think everyone will be on pretty decent behavior because of that," Edwards said. "If that's how it's going to be, we definitely have to be careful."
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth sent the following tweet after the AAA Texas 500 ended on Sunday. Good work @JimmieJohnson ! Textbook pass for the win at the end of the race when someone is trying to take your lane. #quintessential — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) November 8, 2015
RELATED: Panel upholds Kenseth suspension The National Motorsports Appeals Panel today heard and considered the appeal of a Behavioral Penalty issued on Nov. 3 to Matt Kenseth (driver) relative to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series vehicle No. 20 at Martinsville Speedway . The penalty concerns the following sections in the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book: Sections 12.1 and 12.8. The original penalty assessed included suspension from NASCAR until the completion of the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and placed on NASCAR probation for six months following the issuance of the Penalty Notice. Upon hearing the testimony, the decisions of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel are: 1. The Appellant violated the rules set forth in the Penalty notice; 2. The Panel affirms and upholds the original Penalty levied by NASCAR. The panel consisted of the following three individuals: Mr. Ken Clapp Mr. Bill Mullis Mr. Dale Pinilis The Appellant has chosen to appeal the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer in accordance with Section 15 of the NASCAR Rule Book. The appeal will begin at 1 p.m. ET.
RELATED: Kenseth's suspension upheld Today the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, Mr. Bryan Moss, heard and considered the appeal of a Behavioral Penalty issued on Nov. 3, 2015 to Matt Kenseth (driver) relative to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series vehicle #20 at Martinsville Speedway . The penalty concerns the following sections in the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book: Sections 12.1 and 12.8. The original penalty assessed included suspension from NASCAR until the completion of the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and placed on NASCAR probation for six months following the issuance of the Penalty Notice. Earlier today, a three-person National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard the appeal and made the following decisions: 1. The Appellant violated the rules set forth in the Penalty notice; 2. The Panel affirms and upholds the original Penalty levied by NASCAR. Upon hearing this afternoon’s testimony, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer made the following decisions: 1. The Appellant violated the Rules set forth in the Penalty Notice; 2. The Penalty is amended to: "Suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events. Placed on NASCAR probation through December 31, 2015." The decision of the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer is final and binding on all parties.
RELATED: Kenseth suspended for two races by NASCAR " Drivers react Matt Kenseth was issued a two-race suspension from NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway . Logano was leading the race at the time when Kenseth , who was several laps down, got into the 22 of Logano on Lap 454 and both cars went into the wall. Kenseth was also placed on probation for a six-month period. The friction between the drivers began two weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway when Kenseth was leading the second race of the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with five laps to go when Logano made contact with him that led to Kenseth spinning out. Logano went on to win the race in a green-white-checkered finish but Kenseth was none too pleased about the ending. "Based upon our extensive review, we have concluded that the No. 20 car driver, who is no longer in the Chase, intentionally wrecked the No. 22 car driver, a Chase-eligible competitor who was leading the race at the time," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "The No. 20 car was nine laps down, and eliminated the No. 22 car's opportunity to continue to compete in the race. "Additionally, we factored aspects of safety into our decision, and also the fact that the new Chase elimination format puts a premium on each and every race. These actions have no place in NASCAR." A series of appeals were heard on Thursday and Kenseth's two-race suspension was upheld. His probation period was decreased from six months to through December 31, 2015. This is a rare penalty in the sport. In fact, the closest type of penalty seen like it came in 2011 when Kyle Busch was parked for XFINITY and Sprint Cup races at Texas in November of that year. Busch was parked for retaliating and wrecking title contender Ron Hornaday Jr . in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile track. Busch was also fined $50,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the season. Here is a look at several major penalties issued by NASCAR in recent years. Michael Waltrip Racing " Richmond International Raceway , September 2013 Violation: Section 12-4: Actions detrimental to stock car racing. MWR's three teams in the Sprint Cup Series (the No. 15, 55, 56) were penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver and 50 championship owner points, respectively. These point penalties were assessed following the season's 26th regular-season race and not after the seeding for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . That resulted in Martin Truex Jr . being eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the playoff field. NASCAR also fined the MWR organization $300,000 and indefinitely suspended Ty Norris, MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager and spotter for the No. 55 car, for violating Section 12-4. The three crew chiefs -- Brian Pattie (No. 15), Scott Miller (No. 55) and Chad Johnston (No. 56) -- were all placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Penalty: Loss of 50 Cup Driver Points for each MWR team.* Denny Hamlin , No. 11 " Indianapolis Motor Speedway , July 2014 Violation: Section 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing. Section 20-2.1: Car body must be acceptable to NASCAR officials and Section 20-3.4.5: A rear firewall, including any removable panels or access doors, constructed using magnetic sheet steel a minimum of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick), must be located between the trunk area and the driver’s compartment and must be welded in place. Block-off plates/covers used in rear firewalls in place of blowers, oil coolers, etc., must be constructed of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick) magnetic sheet steel. Block-off plates/covers must be installed with positive fasteners and sealed to prevent air leakage. Carbon fiber or aluminum block-off plates/covers will not be permitted. Penalty: Loss of 75 Cup Driver Points* Carl Long , No. 146 " Lowe’s Motor Speedway, May 2009 Violation : Section 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing. Section 12-4-I: Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR rules: Section 20-5.4A: Engine exceeded the maximum engine size of 358.000 cubic inch displacement. Penalty : Loss of 200 Cup Driver Points. Ryan Newman , No. 31 " Auto Club Speedway , March 2015 Violations: Section 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing. 20.16: Wheels and Tires: A. Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted. 20.16.2: Tires : F. Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted. Section 22.214.171.124.1 lists P5 Penalty Violation examples that could include but are not limited to: A. Effecting, modifying and/or altering the standard tires in any way, other than through authorized means such as tire pressure adjustments within the recommended range, permitted tire cooling when mounted on the race vehicle; or heat-cycling on the race vehicle on the race track earlier in the event. Penalty: Loss of 50 Cup Driver Points* Matt Kenseth , No. 20 " Kansas Speedway, April 2013 Violation : Section 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing. Section 12-4J: Any determination by NASCAR Officials that Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to the NASCAR Rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the Event. Section 20-5.5.3E.: Only solid magnetic steel connecting rods with a minimum weight of 525.0 grams will be permitted. Connecting rod failed to meet the minimum connecting rod weight. Penalty: Loss of 50 Cup Driver Points.* Jeremy Mayfield, No. 12 " Talladega Superspeedway , April 2000 Violation: Section 12-4-A: Actions detrimental to stock car racing. Section 8-8: Fuel used by a Competitor that does not meet NASCAR specifications. Section 12-4-AA: Use of altered fuel or fuel other than the official fuel at the Event. Penalty: Loss of 151 Cup Driver points. Johnny Sauter , No. 70 " Lowe's Motor Speedway, May 2008 Violation: Section 20-3.1.3A: Wing mounting locations were not as specified by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book. Penalty: Loss of 150 Cup Driver points. Appealed: NASCAR Penalty upheld. Scott Riggs , No. 66 " Lowe's Motor Speedway, May 2008 Violation: Section 20-3.1.3A: Wing mounting locations were not as specified by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book. Penalty: Loss of 150 Cup Owner points. Appealed: NASCAR Penalty upheld. Brian Vickers , No. 83 " Martinsville Speedway , October 2008 Violation: Section 12-4-Q: Section 20-2.1D: Exterior sheet metal body parts did not meet the specified minimum thickness. Penalty: Loss of 150 Cup Driver points. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 1 " Daytona International Speedway , July 2008 Violation: Section 12-4-Q: Section 20-3.8A: Roof of the car does not conform to the specifications of the NASCAR Rule Book. Penalty: Loss of 150 Cup Driver points. Travis Kvapil , No. 43 " Pocono Raceway , June 2010 Violation: Section 12-1: Section 12-4-J: Section 20-10.7J: Unapproved modification to valve stem hardware. Penalty: 150 Cup Driver Points Clint Bowyer , No. 15 " September 2010, New Hampshire Motor Speedway Violation: Section 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing. Section 12-4-J: Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR Rules: Section 20-3: The car body location specifications in reference to the certified chassis, does not meet the NASCAR-approved specifications. Penalty: 150 Cup Driver Points *These penalties are ranked according to their severity in proportion to the points system used at that time. NASCAR moved to a one-point-per-position format in 2011.
Talks about all the on-track action, drama from Martinsville RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Kenny Wallace nailed another prediction in this space last week when he said Joey Logano had more to worry about than Kevin Harvick when it came to revenge at Martinsville. After Matt Kenseth exacted it, NASCAR dropped the hammer with a two-race suspension that will be appealed in an expedited hearing Thursday morning. "I said no penalty on my radio show and gave a whole monologue on why because the drivers policed themselves," Wallace said. "But if there has to be a penalty, it needs to be the same penalty that Jeff Gordon had (from Phoenix wreck of Clint Bowyer in 2012): $100,000 and 25 points. Now here's the other problem. Jeff Gordon didn't come out of the pits nine laps down, so I understand why it would be more. Meanwhile, Danica Patrick was fined $50,000, stripped of 25 points and placed on NASCAR probation through year's end. Should she have received the same sanctions as Kenseth ? "No! Come on, that is ridiculous," Wallace said. "I interviewed David Gilliland on our radio show. He wrecked her going into Turn 3 first then she came to retaliate and she ended up wrecking herself. She never even wrecked him. She did a poor job of wrecking him, OK? I'm sorry but that (doesn't) hold a candle to the Matt Kenseth - Joey Logano deal. They were racing for position and she did not come out of the pits nine laps down. I just do not see it in the same spectrum." Onward we roll into this week's installment of Herman Unplugged: NASCAR ILLUSTRATED: Did you lose or gain respect for Matt Kenseth on Sunday? HERMAN: "Neither. Because I understand where he's coming from. I have a different viewpoint than most people because I'm a race car driver. Matt's championship was taken away from him, in his eyes, in one big blow at Kansas. Any race car driver could see this brewing in Matt's world. Dale Sr. taught me if you're gonna retaliate, don't do it right away. Make sure people forget about it. What Matt did was just a couple weeks later and it was brutal. If he's guilty of anything, it's getting him back too quick." NI: In the final analysis, is the controversy good or bad for the sport? HERMAN: "Good. I'm 52 years old and I can honestly tell you without a shadow of a doubt that this is like the 1990s all over again. It is that type of water cooler talk in Charlotte and around the United States right now. Everybody has an opinion and now with Facebook and Twitter, everybody can give their opinion. It's times 10 right now. This is exactly the way it used to be in the '90s when Rusty and Earnhardt went at it. But there's so much more on the line now, the money is bigger and there is a magnifying glass on the sport now." NI: You can't put this one in the "Boys, Have At It" category given Kenseth was so many laps down and so blatant. Shouldn't he just own it in this situation? HERMAN: "There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Kenseth knows what he did was morally wrong. But in his state of mind, he did what he had to do. He saw Kevin Harvick not own it the week before when the championship was on the line. That's why. And he was trying to imitate Kevin Harvick . The difference is that Kevin was fighting for a championship. Matt could have owned up to it because there's nothing on the line for him." NI: What does NASCAR need to do to ensure competitive integrity moving forward? HERMAN: "All I want NASCAR to do is say we've been given two examples now. When you're racing for a win and the leader's blocking you all over the race track, if you want to move him out of the way, that's acceptable because he keeps blocking you and anybody can see that. But what's not acceptable is to be nine laps down and come out of the garage area and do what Matt did. We have two clear examples now." NI: Kyle Busch was critical of what he called NASCAR's inconsistency on these matters and said it depends on the driver involved. What's your take on that? HERMAN: "I'm not gonna get into that, I don't got a dog in that fight. That's pretty heavy stuff. I'm not gonna get involved in that because that's taking personal shots. I know this sport good enough and I will tell you this: Mike Helton told me one thing that I'll never forget. He said, 'It is true 20 years ago that we didn't have things in place and we did judge by the hip. Now we have all these monitors and we're trying to get it right. We don't want our integrity questioned.' Kenny Wallace is not going to go after NASCAR's integrity. I'll let Kyle Busch do that." SUBSCRIBE NOW!