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10 of the Biggest Rivalries in NASCAR History

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NASCAR is one of America’s most beloved motorsports. The excitement of seeing the cars, the anticipation of the race and the frenzy of the crowd is palpable at every event. The very first stock car racing event that would eventually become NASCAR was held in Charlotte, N.C. in 1948. Although the events have grown and the cars have evolved, it has been thrilling crowds across the U.S. ever since.

Perhaps nowhere else can road rage come to such a head as it does in NASCAR. Stock car racing is an extremely competitive sport, which inevitably leads to conflict. High speed motorsports are dangerous and can lead to devastating or deadly crashes, and there’s a lot of money on the line. Both of these facts equal a high-stress environment for the drivers and pit crews, and sometimes that stress manifests in spectacular beefs. Here are 10 of the most famous NASCAR feuds.

Kevin Harvick vs. Joey Logano

In 2010 at Pocano, Joey Logano was bumped into the wall by Kevin Harvick late in the race. This move was actually retaliation for an incident months earlier between Logano’s father and one of Harvick’s employees. Harvick alleged that Logano’s father shoved his employee. According to USA Today, Harvick cautioned Logano to “get your dad under control” after the incident.

Brett vs. Geoff Bodine

The Bodine Brothers had a famous feud in 1994 when family problems at home followed the men onto the track. This came to a breaking point at the inaugural Brickyard 400 when Geoff bumped Brett’s car. Brett responded in kind, bumping Geoff’s car, which ended up wrecking Geoff along with Dale Jarrett. NASCAR officials determined the wreck was an accident despite Geoff’s assertion that Brett brought a family problem onto the track.

Kyle Busch vs. Kevin Harvick

In 2010 and 2011, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick went head to head multiple times on the track. This culminated in an altercation on the pit road at Darlington, where Busch parked behind Harvick. The two cars then sat there in an apparent stand off for about a minute before Harvick exited his vehicle and attempted to punch Busch. Busch drove off though, and in doing so, he pushed Harvick’s car into the retaining wall.

Kurt Busch vs. Jimmy Spencer

Kyle Busch’s older brother Kurt had his fair share of fights on the track as well, mostly with rival Jimmy Spencer. These two had multiple run-ins and retaliations from race to race, starting at Phoenix in 2003. The fighting went from ramming each other on the track to physical altercation in Michigan when Busch pretended to run out of gas in front of Spencer. After being rammed by Busch, Spencer retaliated by getting out of his car and socking him in the face.

Rusty Wallace vs. Ryan Newman

Even teammates can harbor resentment for one another. This was the case for Penske drivers Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman. The veteran driver (Wallace) and the rookie (Newman) had a mentor relationship starting out, but Wallace’s waning career and Newman’s burgeoning one led to scathing remarks made to the media. This included making jabs at each other to the New York Times in a February 2005 article. The tension came to a head in October 2004 at the Subway 500 in the Nextel Cup series when the two wrecked, and then reportedly didn’t speak to each other for months following.

Kevin Harvick vs. Ricky Rudd

In 2003, Kevin Harvick and Ricky Rudd were involved in a wreck that culminated in an out-and-out brawl involving the drivers and both their pit crews. Harvick had been in the lead but was bumped to 16th place after the incident. The fight didn’t take place until after the race was over, but it was definitely one for the record books.

Ryan Newman vs. Juan Montoya

Juan Montoya and Ryan Newman butted heads during a meeting in the NASCAR hauler (office) at Darlington Raceway in 2011. The two drivers were called in to discuss two on-track incidents in a previous race. The drivers were both given warnings, but that didn’t stop them from getting into a scuffle immediately afterward. Montoya finished things off by telling reporters “Newman hits like a girl” after the fight.

Michael Waltrip vs. Jeff Green

Eleven years ago, one of the biggest feuds in NASCAR was between Michael Waltrip and Jeff Green. During the course of the Darlington race, Waltrip bumped Green several times and finally spun him out near the end of the race. Waltrip was held back for only one lap for the infraction.

Matt Kenseth vs. Joey Logano

The beef between Kenseth and Logano has continued for the past two seasons. Kenseth was suspended for two races in November 2015 after intentionally ramming Joey Logano’s car into the wall. Kenseth claimed the incident was an accident due to the damage his car had sustained when bumped earlier in the race by Brad Keselowski. Officials decided it was too convenient an accident to have, considering Logano had pulled a similar move on Kenseth two weeks prior in Kansas. Earlier this May, the two were filmed having an off-track confrontation with Kenseth finger wagging at Logano.

Donnie Allison vs. Cale Yarborough

Donnie Allison slugged it out with Cale Yarborough after the two drivers were involved in a wreck at Daytona in 1979. What is now known as one of the most famous fights in NASCAR history might not have gone past yelling if Bobby Allison hadn’t jumped on the track to get involved. Instead, he famously said afterwards, “I got out of the car and he (meaning Yarborough) started beating on my fist with his nose.”

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10 of the Biggest Rivalries in NASCAR History