AVONDALE, Ariz. — Matt Kenseth’s suspension for two races for pile-driving Joey Logano into the wall Nov. 1 at Martinsville Speedway is still a hot topic of debate in the Sprint Cup garage.
Richard Petty is about as old-school as they come but thought the suspension was warranted. Rick Hendrick has more than 30 years in the sport and didn’t want to see Kenseth parked.
“As deliberate as that was, it needed to be done,” Petty, a seven-time Cup champion, said Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. “In fact, I think he got out lucky with two races instead of three.”
Hendrick, whose driver Jeff Gordon avoided a suspension but was issued a $100,000 fine and 25-point penalty for taking Clint Bowyer out of Chase contention at Phoenix in 2012, said he didn’t think Kenseth should have been suspended.
“I didn’t think he had to be suspended,” Hendrick said. “I like Matt. I like all the drivers out here. I just think they’ve got to be consistent.
“When somebody goes out there and wrecks somebody after they’ve wrecked them, then somebody does it, you put him out of a race two weeks? I’m just glad I don’t have to make those decisions.”
Petty, who drove from 1958 to 1992, said retaliation in his day wasn’t like what Kenseth did.
“I took people out ,and they took me out. It was deliberate, but it wasn’t that brazen,” Petty said. “We’d do it on the backstretch where nobody could see us.”
For Petty, he’s currently more focused on trying to figure out who will drive the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 Sprint Cup car next year. Sam Hornish Jr. has struggled this year and sits 25th in the standings. When asked if Hornish would be the driver next year, Petty said, “No, I don’t think so.”
Petty said the team needs sponsorship to go along with the driver.
“We’re still working on what we’re going to do with the 9 car and crew and all that stuff,” Petty said. “Things are looking up. We’ve got some stuff coming down the pike, but we don’t have it corralled yet.