Ranking the 10 Best NASCAR Feuds of the Past Decade
It's as much of a tradition in NASCAR as the races themselves—drivers' tempers flaring up after some unfavorable on-track contact.
The sanitized world of multi-million dollar corporate sponsors aside, competitive people are by nature competitive and they don't take too kindly to having themselves taken out of competition. Sometimes incidents can be glossed over, sometimes grudges are held, but sometimes frustration overpowers a pair of drivers (and their crews) and leads to an all-out battle, on or off the track.
We may not be in the era of drivers coming after one another every race anymore, but that doesn't mean we haven't still had our share of interesting feuds over the past decade. These 10 all stand out in one way or another.
Michael Waltrip vs. Jeff Green
Waltrip and Green may share a hometown in Owensboro, Kentucky, but they didn't share any fondness for one another early in the 2005 season. Green wrecked Waltrip twice—at Martinsville and Darlington—inspiring the two-time Daytona 500 winner to make the rest of the Darlington event a living hell for Green.
Ignoring NASCAR's warning to steer clear, Waltrip bumped into Green multiple times before finally spinning him out. Rather than being parked for the rest of the race, NASCAR only held him for a single lap, before pulling both drivers into the hauler after the race to warn them about future incidents.
Ricky Rudd vs. Kevin Harvick
Rudd found himself dealing with a situation in Richmond in 2003 after he and Harvick made contact late in the race. Harvick, who had led 23 laps, fell back to 16th, the last driver on the lead lap.
In response, an angry Harvick found Rudd after the race, setting off a brawl that included both crews. But Rudd earned the nickname "The Rooster" for a reason—he didn't take much grief from anybody, and a then-upstart like Harvick was no exception.
Tony Stewart vs. Brian Vickers
Vickers had trouble with more than his share of competitors during a trying 2011 season that cost him a spot as a full-time Sprint Cup driver. But one of the first significant feuds he had that year came at Infineon, when he and Tony Stewart couldn't seem to get out of one another's way.
On lap 39, Stewart, frustrated with Vickers for blocking, intentionally dumped the No. 83 car in the turn 11 hairpin. Vickers claimed that there were slower cars in front of him, and decided to exact revenge in the same place on Lap 87. To their credit, both drivers made this feud interesting in a counter-intuitive way by harboring no bad blood. Vickers was matter-of-fact over his decision, while Stewart accepted the payback as part of racing, and both moved on.
Kevin Harvick vs. Joey Logano
Many fans will remember Harvick's tiff with Logano at Pocono in June 2010, when Logano fell victim to contact from Harvick late in the race. After the race, Logano told the media that Harvick's wife DeLana "wears the firesuit in the family."
But the feud purportedly started when Logano's father Tom allegedly shoved one of Harvick's Nationwide employees before a race at Bristol that March. According to Harvick, he told Logano to control his father, leading to multiple incidents between them on-track. Tom was later criticized for contact with a pit reporter during the confrontation between Logano and Harvick at Pocono, his second incident in less than a year.
Boris Said vs. Greg Biffle
Said, a road course ace, wasn't a fan of Biffle's driving at Watkins Glen in 2011, and wasn't afraid to take advantage of ESPN camera crews to voice his displeasure after the race. We'll let Boris himself do most of the talking here.
Juan Montoya vs. Ryan Newman
Montoya and Newman have never lost any love between them, from Newman spinning Montoya out of his 2006 Cup debut at Homestead to a high-profile wreckfest at Richmond in May 2011. Montoya had won the pole that night before Newman spun him out once again, inspiring Montoya to retaliate.
Things got worse the next week at Darlington. In a meeting in the NASCAR hauler the Friday before the race, things reportedly turned physical, with rumors that one driver punched the other. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp would only say "The meeting didn't go as well as we hoped it would."
Kyle Busch vs. Kevin Harvick
After an incident to end the 2010 season at Homestead, these two hot-headed drivers tangled again in the 2011 Southern 500, where Busch claims Harvick drove through the back of him. After the race, Harvick parked his car in front of Busch's on pit road, then got out to confront him; Busch pushed the abandoned No. 29 car out of the way and into the inside pit wall.
But it got worse in a Camping World Truck race at Texas that November. Busch, angry at Ron Hornaday, drove into the back of the Harvick-owned truck at full speed under caution, wrecking both drivers. He would be suspended for the Sprint Cup race and refrained from competing in the Truck series for much of 2012 after Joe Gibbs Racing reprimanded him.
Jeff Gordon vs. Clint Bowyer
Forget the penultimate round of last season at Phoenix and Gordon's decision to intentionally wreck Bowyer. This one started all the way back in Martinsville, when Bowyer's aggressive move to the inside during a green-white-checkered restart spun them both out, as well as Jimmie Johnson. The two drivers would have a handful of other run-ins over the year before incidental contact late at Phoenix destroyed Gordon's hopes at a top-10 finish.
Angered and frustrated, Gordon waited for Bowyer on the track, ignored a black flag, and wrecked both cars—taking out Joey Logano in the process. It led to a $100,000 fine for Gordon and debates over a potential suspension, and Bowyer still won't talk about the incident.
Jeremy Mayfield vs. NASCAR
When Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamines in 2009, it led to one of the nastiest athlete-versus-sport court battles ever. There were accusations flying from all angles, with Mayfield at one point claiming that his stepmother, who spoke out against him, had killed his father.
After NASCAR's suspension was upheld, Mayfield's life fell apart. He was unable to sue NASCAR due to waivers he signed to race, he was arrested for theft and drug possession, and his dogs were even euthanized after attacking a mail carrier. He's currently considering a comeback, even if he has to go through the drug recovery program he so adamantly resisted four years ago.
Carl Edwards vs. Brad Keselowski
When Keselowski sent Edwards' car flying at Talladega in the spring of 2009, it wasn't a malicious incident; it was more of an ill-advised move and the consequences of restrictor plate racing. But when Keselowski wrecked Edwards at Atlanta the next year, the 2008 Sprint Cup runner-up decided that it meant war.
Edwards had his car repaired and went back on track to look for Keselowski. When he found him, Edwards spun Keselowski's car and dangerously sent it flying into the frontstretch catchfence. The two would tangle once more in a Nationwide race at Gateway that summer, where Edwards spun Keselowski for the victory. While it lasted, this was perhaps the craziest feud in NASCAR over the past decade.
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