Matt Kenseth ‘Returns’ Helmet Tony Stewart Threw at Him at Bristol

Published 09/15/2021, 11:20 AM EDT
KANSAS CITY, KS – MAY 06: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 6, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Several years ago, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth got involved in a bit of a squabble. At the Bristol Motor Speedway in 2012, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver collided with the Roush Fenway Racing driver. Apparently, the two were running side-by-side when they traded paint and then spun into the wall.

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Stewart’s race was compromised, but Kenseth was able to continue for a bit. An incensed Tony Stewart stormed up and hurled his helmet at Kenseth’s car as he passed him in the pit lane. Luckily, there wasn’t much damage to Kenseth’s windshield, and he was not running very fast in the pits.

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Later on, ahead of Stewart’s retirement from racing the #17 driver returned the helmet, though he had a cheeky message. He said, “Hey Tony, for your retirement I wanted to get you something. I think this accidentally slipped out of your hand at Bristol a couple of years ago. Thought you should have it back.”

How did the race pan out for Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth?

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In the end, the two of them finished in 25th and 27th, with Kenseth ahead of Tony Stewart. Surprisingly, NASCAR opted not to fine the defending champion. Instead, the governing body chose a different punishment, namely keeping his helmet with them. Tony Stewart confessed that he knew exactly where it was and almost took it back.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – JULY 25: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

He joked, “I was going to do a deal where I took it to different locations and took pictures of it and then sent him messages saying, ‘If you want to see your helmet alive, you’ll comply with all of our demands’. But he was a person in that industry that could have the potential to make my life a little more difficult than it already is every week. So I’ve let that dog lie.”

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Since the accident, all has been forgiven and the two parties calmed down. At least, Tony Stewart managed to get his helmet back, though Matt Kenseth had the last laugh at his expense.

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WATCH: When Tony Stewart Threw His Helmet at a Stunned Matt Kenseth

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Dhruv George

12022 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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