Kenseth: “I went into the next corner and I ran into him twice as hard.”
From 2006-2009, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth were teammates at Roush Fenway Racing. But, before that, they clashed on the highbanks of Bristol Motor Speedway.
This story is from Bristol circa 2004. In other words, the half-mile track was still a death match. It was one groove, right around the inside line. Back when a painted yellow line was a secret to extra grip on corner entry.
It was a narrow racing line. Contact was common as was the retaliation that likely followed. The feuds that stemmed from the Bristol short track are endless: Greg Biffle vs Kevin Harvick; Dale Earnhardt vs Terry LaBonte; Jeff Gordon vs Rusty Wallace; Kurt Busch vs Jimmy Spencer.
At the time, Matt Kenseth drove the No. 17 for Roush Racing. Jamie McMurray piloted the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing, the same car Kenseth currently pilots in 2020.
In the closing laps of that 2004 Bristol race, McMurray put the bumper to Matt Kenseth.
Matt Kenseth vs Jamie McMurray at Bristol
Matt Kenseth: “You could me, ran into me and passed me. And I have a thing in my personality, I don’t really like to run into people. But, I don’t like getting run into.”
“So, Jamie ran into me and passed me. I’m was like, ‘I really don’t like getting run into.’ So, I went into the next corner and I ran into him twice as hard, knocked him up the track and passed him back.”
Jamie McMurray: “It’s weird because what happened was, to this day, I don’t know what happened. We drove off into the corner and Matt just parked it. I tried to get slowed down and Matt just parked it and I hit him. It was an accident.”
“I don’t know why we would do that but we used to go up and run into each other after the race. I was already kinda thinking that. But, you know how frugal I am, I also thought, ‘That will be expensive if I hit him.’ “
Chip Ganassi [McMurray radio]: “You got get that sun of a b—–.”
McMurray: “I was like, ‘It’s free! I’m going to get him right now!”
“So, I went up and I ran into Matt. It did nothing.”
Kenseth: “I just remember being in the trailer and seeing [Donnie] Wingo ready to fight. Robbie [Reiser’s] all bowed up and ready to fight somebody.”
McMuray: “Then there’s these two skinny guys. Like, we’re not fighting.”
Kenseth: “No. We’ll just go home.”
Kurt Busch drove to victory lane in the Food City 500 on March 28th, 2004. Kenseth finished 5th after he took the top 5 run with the retaliation on the final corner. McMurray finished 8th.
McMurray ran the final race of his career in February 2019. Kenseth is currently signed to drive the No. 42 through the end of the 2020 season.