Teammates caught in post-race skirmish

Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards were caught on camera in a nasty confrontation following Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.

Kenseth was about to be interviewed when Edwards, his teammate at Roush Fenway Racing, grabbed him and firmly pushed him. In videos posted on, the two are seen arguing before Edwards climbs over the pit wall. Before walking away, Edwards raised a fist as if to strike Kenseth, who noticeably flinched.

A Roush Fenway spokesman said Monday the team had no immediate comment on the incident.

It’s not exactly clear what they were even arguing about, but it likely stemmed from a mid-race restart when Reed Sorenson’s car failed to take off at the green flag. It caused the traffic behind Sorenson to stack up, and Kenseth and Edwards became entangled as they tried to weave around Sorenson.

They banged doors in Turn 1, and had heavier contact in Turn 3 that caused Edwards to lose track position. His anger apparently festered for the rest of the race, and when he spotted Kenseth starting a television interview, he was aggressive in interrupting to make a point.

Edwards and Kenseth are fifth and 12th, respectively, in the standings and well off the pace of leader Jeff Gordon.

Apparently, there’s some serious animosity between Edwards and Kenseth, who first publicly criticized each other following a Busch Series race in Kansas last month.

It started when Kenseth appeared to cut Edwards off midway through that race, and the contact caused Edwards to cut a tire. Edwards later wrecked — not because of Kenseth — but blamed him for it by clapping his hands and giving a thumbs-up at Kenseth as he passed by him on the track.

"The reason I was mad, someone like a teammate would race me like that," Edwards said. "He may or may not have done it on purpose. He’s my teammate and we’ve really got a good relationship, so I hope we can get by this."

Kenseth went on to finish second, and was perplexed by Edwards’ anger.

"I don’t really feel like I did anything wrong," he said. "My job’s not to get out of his way all of the time. We’re supposed to race each other like we always race each other, and race each other with respect."

Kenseth didn’t stop before taking a slight jab at Edwards, who is running away with the Busch Series driver championship but only has the car ranked third in owner points behind entries fielded by Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing and piloted by multiple drivers.

"If I was getting beat for the owner’s championship by a couple of guys running part time … it’s probably got him a little worked up," Kenseth said. …

Jeremy Mayfield will take over a new NASCAR Nextel Cup ride four races early, replacing Jeff Green in the No. 66 Haas CNC Racing entry for the rest of the season.

Mayfield is leaving Bill Davis Racing, and the No. 36 BDR ride he is giving up will be shared for now by Craftsman Truck Series regulars Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson.

Mayfield will replace Green in the 66 Chevrolet, beginning with Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Haas team announced earlier this month that Scott Riggs, currently with Gillette Evernham Motorsports, would replace Green or No. 70 driver Johnny Sauter in 2008. It hasn’t been determined which car Mayfield will drive next year. …

Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will debut in the Busch Series for Chip Ganassi Racing in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park.

• FORMULA ONE — McLaren confirmed that it will appeal FIA’s decision not to penalize four drivers investigated for fuel irregularities following the Brazilian Grand Prix win by Kimi Raikkonen that gave him the series championship by one point.

"We will lodge an appeal," McLaren head of media communications Ellen Kolby said in an e-mail.

The ruling by the sport’s governing body meant that McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton remained the seventh-place finisher Sunday, two spots lower than he needed to win the title in the season-ending race.

After the race, FIA opened an investigation of BMW-Sauber and Williams, whose drivers finished fourth, fifth, sixth and 10th. If at least two of the three ahead of Hamilton were punished, he would take the title from Raikkonen.

FIA concluded, however, that there was not enough evidence to penalize the drivers or the teams.

• DRAG RACING — Motorcycle drag racer Jason Whitenack of Boulder City died Saturday in a highway accident.

Whitenack, 33, was a regular competitor in the drag-racing program at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a member of the track’s team that won the NHRA Pacific Division championship on Oct. 14. He also won the Motorcycle title in July’s Sport Compact Nationals at the speedway. …

Seats remain for Wednesday’s fourth annual Speedway Children’s Charities Cards for Kids poker tournament at the Cannery.

Among NHRA pro drivers expected to play are Brandon Bernstein, Cory McClenathan, Greg Anderson, Hillary Will, J.R. Todd, Morgan Lucas, Dave Connolly and Jack Beckman. For more information, call 632-8242.

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