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NASCAR's 13 Greatest Moments of Retaliation


13. Greg Biffle vs. Jay Sauter, Richmond 2001

While Brad Keselowski’s Rocky training montage at Kansas after being felled by Kyle Busch was impressive, it doesn’t quite stack up to Greg Biffle completely losing his guano after getting wrecked by Jay Sauter at Richmond in 2001. Superman Punch through that tiny window opening? Don’t riff with The Biff, bro.

by Vito Pugliese

12. Toledo Speedway, 2006

After watching this, that whole Donnie, Cale and Bobby tussle in Turn 3 at Daytona just doesn’t seem that cool anymore. Flying leg kick, helmet chuck, haymakers … when Robin Pemberton announced, “Have at it, Boys” this is what people were hoping for.

by Vito Pugliese

11. Joey Logano vs. Ryan Newman, Michigan 2010

Since Joey Logano joined Penske Racing this year, he has validated his position as a premier Cup Series talent by making the Chase for the first time in his five year career. While he is a wheelman, he’s clearly a lover and not a fighter. Conflict is not his strong suit (i.e., run-ins with Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin) and he gets his lunch cut here by Ryan Newman at Michigan when he tries to hash things out over some late-race contact.

by Vito Pugliese

10. Robby Gordon vs. Greg Biffle, Loudon 2004

What was that sage piece of advice that Harry Hogge offered Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder? “Don’t mess with Rowdy, he’ll give you a real ass rippin’!” The same can be said for Robby Gordon, who safe to say, really never cared what nor whom he was dealing with. After getting nerfed by Greg Biffle in the opening laps at Loudon in the first-ever Chase race, Robby came back and served Biffle proper, effectively ending his title hopes before they began.

by Vito Pugliese

9. Jimmie Johnson vs. Kurt Busch, Richmond 2011

There a few constants in the Cup Series: Jimmie Johnson is nearly unbeatable on the track, and Kurt Busch is magic on the mic. Kinda. After getting roughed up by Johnson for a few seasons, which resulted in a particularly hard hit at Pocono in 2010 and a pit road exchange in 2011, Kurt dumped Jimmie at Richmond in 2012.  JJ tried to repay the favor, but ended up taking himself out in the process. Kurt was riffling off insults mid-spin as he stays off the wall and keeps on trucking. Aside from the Johnson/Busch rivalry, this particular race was full of mayhem.

by Vito Pugliese

8. Kevin Harvick vs. Ricky Rudd, Richmond 2003

In this clip, Ricky Rudd gets into Kevin Harvick in the closing laps at Richmond in 2003. This was all pre-Chase, so of course it still mattered. Afterwards, the No. 29 team and Harvick do some Flintstone-style body work on the Wood Brothers’ Ford. While Rooster and Pat Tryson weren’t too cool with it, it was one interesting way to get their point across.

by Vito Pugliese

7. Denny Hamlin vs. Brad Keselowski, Homestead 2009

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As good as brilliant retaliations are, there is nothing worse than a weak one — then gloating about it. Back when Brad Keselowski was trying to make a name for himself in the Nationwide Series, he had a number of run-ins with Cup Series interloper Denny Hamlin. In 2009, one week following the former spinning the latter in Phoenix, Hamlin decided to go rouge and spin out Keselowski down the frontstretch in Homestead — except all he really did was a series of lazy spins. Note the odd self-serving post-race comments from Hamlin. Since their fued, Keselowski has gone on to win the Nationwide title in 2010, and the Cup Series title in 2012. Hamlin has thrown a water bottle at his own car and hurt his knee playing basketball.

by Vito Pugliese

6. Brian Vickers vs. Matt Kenseth, Phoenix 2011

It’s one thing when you say you’re going to retaliate, it’s quite another when you tell the public for a month you’re going to do it, then do it, and telegraph it. Brian Vickers pretty much alienated the field at Martinsville in 2011 with his tactics (including Matt Kenseth, who at last count gets along with just about everyone). Vickers had warned that Kenseth still had one coming, and rode him down the backstretch while Kenseth battled brake problems. Being pushed by another 3, 400-pound, 900-horsepower race car probably didn’t help with this issue.

by Vito Pugliese

5. David Reutimann vs. Kyle Busch, Kansas 2010

David Reutimann was well within his rights to retaliate against Kyle Busch at Kansas in 2010. And his crew chief, Rodney Childers, had gotten tired of the nice-guy act, challenging his driver to stand up for himself. So he did. And took himself out in the process. The incident was yet another chapter in the sad saga of Kyle Busch at Kansas Speedway.

by Vito Pugliese

4. Sterling Marlin vs. Greg Biffle, Watkins Glen 2004

Everybody always says they’d want Morgan Freeman to narrate the story of their lives. I say nay; give me Sterling Marlin.

by Vito Pugliese

3. Kyle Busch vs. Kevin Harvick, Darlington 2011

This is probably one of the funniest things to happen in recent years. Love or hate Kyle Busch, you have to respect him here. Busch claims he broke the transmission and couldn’t back up and didn’t want to get punched by Harvick. Fair enough. Spare me the, “He could have killed somebody!” hysterics; that car rolling away unabated while they chase after it is hilarious.

by Vito Pugliese

2. Carl Edwards vs. Brad Kesewloski, 2009–2010

Here is story of two drivers who raced each other a little too hard on multiple occasions, and things got completely out of hand. This is why you don’t retaliate on the track — particularly at tracks that see speeds in the 200 mph neighborhood — or in front of the field.

by Vito Pugliese

1. Jeff Gordon vs. Clint Bowyer, Phoenix 2012

From this date forward, any sort of payback, retaliation or retribution will be measured against this. It started in Martinsville and ended in Phoenix. Then they ended up on a boat together at a party in the offseason. Clint Bowyer almost got over on Jeff Gordon at Richmond by spinning to eliminate him from The Chase this year, but NASCAR’s intervention got him into the now field of … 13?

by Vito Pugliese