In a sport where drivers put their lives on the line as they race at high speeds in close quarters, it’s no surprise relationshipsÂ can get heated â on and off the track.Â
It’s those soapy moments that can linger long after the checkered flag has waved.
The best NASCAR feuds of the 2010s featureÂ a core group of drivers for good reason: To have a great feud, drivers need to battle for wins and championships. That’sÂ whenÂ emotions can run high and hot.
So donât take those on this list as the ultimate emotional fireballs of the decade (OK, maybe with the exception of Kyle Busch). Instead, know that, as in many sports, those who hate to lose often can hold a grudge a little longer.
Whenever these drivers got around each other, especially up front and late in a race, it was must-see viewing.
These two just will never like each other. And thatâs a good thing for fans, who love a long-lasting feud. Keselowski tried to pen a blog about it, extending a little bit of an olive branch, but Busch acted pretty whatevs about it. Thatâs what happens when the other person gets on stage for pre-race introductionsÂ and says, âKyle Busch is an ass,â as Keselowski did at Bristol in 2010.
This feud ruined Loganoâs chances at the Cup Series title in a dramatic 2015 playoffs. Logano turned Kenseth for the lead late at Kansas after he believed Kenseth drove him into the wall. Then-NASCAR chairman Brian France (more on him later) called it a âquintessential NASCARâ move. Two weeks later at Martinsville, after getting miffed at Logano teammate Keselowski when contact put him nine laps down, Kenseth wrecked Logano, earning a two-race suspension but setting the tone that cowboy justice is alive and well in the sport.
This one started in 2009 when Keselowski held his line on an Edwards block at Talladega and Edwards’ car went flying into the catchfence. He was uninjured, but some fans were. The next year at Atlanta, Edwards and Keselowski had contact early in the race and Edwards tapped Keselowski later, sending Keselowski’s car airborne. Edwards also turned Keselowski coming to the checkered flag for a win later that year in an Xfinity Series race at Gateway. This one probably goes down as the most ugly with all the vicious hits.
The bad blood between these two started in 2013 and has lingered for years, culminating with Hamlin and Logano throwing punches at each other at Martinsville several weeks ago. Six years ago, Hamlin felt a Logano move at Daytona hurt his chances; they nearly brawled at Bristol a month later. The next week, while racing for the win at California, they made contact. Hamlin crashedÂ hard and brokeÂ his back. Watch for more from these two in 2020.
Keselowski and Gordon made contact late in the 2014 playoff race at Texas, which led to a brawl between the drivers and crews. There still are hard feelings, even though Gordon has retired. Gordon is in the booth for FoxÂ Sports, and Keselowski has taken exception to some of the things Gordon (also a Hendrick Motorsports executive) has said, indicating he believes Gordon carries a bias toward Team Penske.
As Harvick once said, there wasnât much love lost between these two. It comes down to two different philosophies: Harvick often will say what he feels, even if he comes off as a jerk. Edwards believed there is a certain standard for professionalism and when Harvick called him a fake in March 2010, Edwards said: âI have absolutely no respect for Kevin Harvick. âŠ I think he’s a bad person.â
Busch had run-ins with several Richard Childress Racing drivers throughout various series in 2011, and team owner Richard Childress opted to handle it himself when he didnât feel NASCAR would. The result was one of the best quotes in NASCAR lore: The âhold my watchâ episode when he gave his wristband to one of his grandsons and then smacked Busch.
Harvick gave RCR 13 months notice that he would be leaving following the 2013 season. He almost was forced out a few weeks early when he had contact with Ty Dillon in a Martinsville truck race and then parked his truck in Dillonâs pit, saying the Dillon brothers (Austin and Ty) âhave got no respect for what they do in this sport and they’ve had everything fed to them with a spoon.” Harvick has tried to be respectful since then, but the comment follows the Dillons.Â Austin certainly hasnât forgotten it, but Ty apparently thinks enough of Harvick to have signed with Kevin Harvick Inc. to represent him as his agent.
This feud could have been the best of the decade, but the two actually get along these days. That wasnât always the case. In the season finale in 2010, Harvick wrecked Busch, saying he âraced me like a clownâ all day. Busch said Harvick was âtwo-faced.âAt Darlington in 2011, after they had contact before and after the race, Harvick tried to punch Busch.
France made several changes during his tenure as chairman, and that continued into the 2010s as he introduced a four-driver, one-race-take-all championship event format in his everlasting pursuit of âGame 7â moments. While popular with many with hard-to-argue dramatics, it still has gnawed at traditionalists. France was ripped by Tony Stewart and others for not being at the track. And now heâs a convenient scapegoat for all the ills of the sport after being removed following a DUI arrest in August 2018.