NASCAR's 10 Best Feuds of 2012
We're in the third season of NASCAR racing since the implementation of the "boys, have at it" policy at the start of 2010. And while drivers have done a better job of keeping themselves in check this year in the wake of Kyle Busch's run-in with Ron Hornaday at the end of last year, that hasn't stopped some tempers from flaring.
We've seen quite a bit of unrest, whether at the beginning of the season or the end. Just about everything from water bottles to helmets have gone flying. And when you're dealing with Kurt Busch, you don't have to be a race car driver for him to pick a fight with you.
Let's count down the top 10 run-ins over the course of the season so far:
Ryan Newman vs. Juan Montoya
This one was last year's big feud, but we got a little on-track déjà vu when Montoya and Newman got into one another once again at Bristol in August.
Montoya sent Newman spinning into the wall, dealing Newman's Chase wild-card chances a blow from which they would not recover. Newman finished 36th after completing only 189 of 500 laps, dropping from 13th to 15th in points.
Jeff Gordon vs. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Though teammates at Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. haven't totally gotten along on the track this year.
Their issues started at Bristol in March, when Earnhardt Jr. tried to pass Gordon too aggressively and put the No. 24 in the wall. Then, at Michigan, an upset Gordon said he "should have wrecked" Earnhardt Jr. after he made a line low on the track in a cluster of cars and squeezed Gordon for position.
Danica Patrick vs. Sam Hornish Jr.
On the final lap of the Nationwide Series race at Talladega in May, Hornish blew his right front tire coming out of the fourth turn.
While Elliott Sadler pushed Hornish through the tri-oval, the Penske Racing Dodge drifted up the track and into Patrick, causing both to scrape the wall. After crossing the finish line, a frustrated Patrick put Hornish into the wall to show her displeasure.
Kurt Busch vs. Ryan Newman
Busch and Newman suffered synchronized spins at Darlington in May, removing both from race contention that night. Angry about the night, Busch peeled out of the pits, driving through Newman's pit and threatening the safety of his crew members.
The post-race fight included the Stewart-Haas team coming for Busch, while the Phoenix Racing crew had to restrain their driver. Busch landed on probation for the incident, which led to this...
Kurt Busch vs. Bob Pockrass
Busch had been doing so well...well, sort of...with journalists until telling Pockrass at Dover in June that aforementioned probation "refrains me from not beating the (expletive) out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions."
Busch received a one-week suspension, while Pockrass was caught in the most uncomfortable position for a journalist to be in: becoming part of the story himself.
Kevin Harvick vs. Amber Cope
Cope cost Harvick an almost guaranteed win in the Nationwide Series at New Hampshire in July by blocking him with her lapped car late in the event; the loss of momentum allowed Brad Keselowski to slip by and take the victory.
Harvick slammed Cope after the race, saying "she can't even hold her helmet," while Cope took to Twitter to demand an apology. Harvick's response (h/t ESPN interview courtesy of AOL Sporting News): "Pick some boots and your favorite song and find a new job."
Brad Keselowski vs. Kyle Busch
Busch wasn't too happy with Keselowski after Watkins Glen when the Blue Deuce spun him out of the lead on the final lap.
Busch complained loudly that a lapped car was laying down oil in front of him, slowing him down, while Keselowski drove right through him in the esses to set up a wild last-lap battle with Marcos Ambrose for the victory.
Tony Stewart vs. Matt Kenseth
Bristol Motor Speedway has a history of bringing the worst out of drivers, and after these two former champions wrecked in the August night race, Stewart was no exception.
Irate, he tossed his helmet at Kenseth on pit road, hitting the Roush Fenway Racing Ford square in the grill. Stewart had also reportedly been upset with Kenseth after Indianapolis, when he believed that Kenseth had been blocking him.
Brad Keselowski vs. Kevin Harvick
This one started in the September Nationwide Series race at Atlanta, when Keselowski threw a water bottle out his window while Harvick had a dominant lead late in the race. Not long after, an unrelated debris caution bunched up the field and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took the lead and win off the restart.
Harvick initially blamed the water bottle, though both Keselowski and NASCAR affirmed that drivers are allowed to throw them out of the car during a race situation without causing a caution. When Harvick won the next week at Richmond, he threw his water bottle out the window during his burnout.
Juan Pablo Montoya vs. a Jet Dryer
Okay, I got stuck on nine. Does this count?
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