The Shove': Gordon and Kenseth tangle at Bristol

Posted by: Jeremy Patterson on 11/17/2021

While it may not have been “the shove heard round the world”, there was an altercation at Bristol between NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon and then-relative newcomer Matt Kenseth that did get quite a bit of press. With this coming weekend marking the first of two 2018 stops in Bristol, NASCAR thought it would be a good time to revisit the 2006 incident, labeled simply “The Shove”.

Late in the race, Gordon and Kenseth were battling for the third spot behind eventual race winner Kurt Busch when Gordon got around the 17 and set his sights on the second place car of Kevin Harvick. However, Kenseth was hardly ready to just let Gordon drive away uncontested and pulled back up tight on the #24’s bumper just a couple of turns later, when he nudged Gordon. The tap was all that was needed for the iconic Dupont Chevy sliding sideways as the race drew to an end.

Gordon managed to keep the car off the wall, therefore keeping the race under green while Busch, Harvick and Kenseth raced toward the finish line while Gordon fell all the way back to 21st thanks to the spin. Understandably, Gordon was unhappy with that outcome, dropping from 3rd or 4th place to 21st and when the field returned to pit road after the checkered flag waved, Gordon decided to express his displeasure in a very direct way.

Climbing from his car, helmet and firesuit still fully intact, Gordon marched toward Kenseth on a mission. While we’ll never know the truth behind the spin, Kenseth seemed genuine in saying it was unintentional, but Gordon decided to give Matt a solid shove to let him know the spin would not be taken lightly. The crews intervened before the altercation could escalate and cooler heads did eventually prevail, but for a moment, it looked as if there may be a brawl at Bristol. Instead, we have “The Shove”.