Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted he felt “pretty sick” about causing Matt Kenseth’s heavy crash in the Sonoma NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Kenseth’s Joe Gibbs Toyota had a violent head-on impact with the tire wall (pictured) after being tapped into a spin by Hendrick Chevrolet driver Earnhardt, who went on to finish third.
“I left him plenty of room and we ran through there side by side earlier, too, but he just plowed into my right-rear and wrecked me,” fumed Kenseth. “I don’t know if he got onto a curb. It doesn’t really matter at this point.”
Earnhardt admitted that he felt guilty over the incident.
“I tore Matt Kenseth’s car up pretty bad jumping that curb,” he said. “I was racing him a little hard there coming out of Turn 7. He probably had the preferred line and I probably should have yielded to him, but I thought I was a little bit faster than him and didn’t want to be stuck behind him.
“I straddled a curb, and it just lost my car in the air right into his car. I hope he’s not too sore.
“I had a lot of fun other than the deal with Matt made me pretty sick.”
Early race leader AJ Allmendinger also had a tangle with Earnhardt in the closing laps, slewing into Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers after a brush with the Hendrick Chevy on a straight.
“I thought I gave him enough room on the outside,” reckoned Earnhardt. “I had just got around him and I ran low protecting my line, he shot to the outside and that’s his prerogative. I didn’t think I ran him in the fence.”