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Most Iconic Angry Driver Moments in NASCAR History

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In NASCAR tempers tend to flare, and some drivers have found some creative ways to express their displeasure to other drivers. Austin Dillon went back to the classic helmet throw on Sunday at Pocono after tangling with former teammate, Tyler Reddick.

It got us at the Daily Downforce thinking about the greatest angry driver moments in NASCAR history. This is not a list of NASCAR’s greatest fights, but, rather, more a list of the most interesting ways drivers have expressed their displeasure.

5. Denny Hamlin Tries To Stop Alex Bowman’s Burnout (Martinsville, Fall 2021)

With six laps to go in the 2021 Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Alex Bowman spun Denny Hamlin out for the lead. Hamlin was irate, but he was unable to get to Bowman before the checkered flag. Bowman won the race, so Hamlin got to Bowman where he could.

On the frontstretch as Bowman was attempting to do a burnout, Hamlin came up alongside Bowman and tried to do a duel burnout. Eventually, Hamlin backed away, but he proceeded to call Bowman a “Hack” in the post race interview. Perhaps one of the strangest burnouts in NASCAR history, but it made for an incredible post-race sight that the Martinsville crowd loved.

4. Chase Elliot’s…Creative Gesture (Darlington, May 2020)

In May of 2020, NASCAR was in their second race following the COVID-19 pandemic. With rain coming, a late-race restart produced aggression throughout the field, but Kyle Busch accidentally turned Chase Elliott into the inside wall. Elliott got out of the car and decided to give Kyle Busch that famous gesture.

After the race, Busch immediately owned up to the incident saying that he misjudged the gaps between cars. When asked whether or not the 9 team bought the explanation, Busch gave an iconic line saying, “They’re upset. They’re mad. I’m not just gonna fix it and we’re gonna go have ice cream tomorrow.”

Busch and Elliott have not had a major run-in since, but Elliott made no mistake who he felt was number one that night.

3. Kurt Busch Tells Jimmy Spencer…What? (Indianapolis, 2002)

Jimmy Spencer felt that Kurt Busch was owed one, and Spencer turned Busch into the wall. Busch proceeded to walk down the track to gesture to Spencer not once, but twice. The first time was just a simple holding his arms out to seemingly say, “What were you doing?”

The second one saw Busch tap his backside and point to seemingly nowhere. No one knew exactly what it meant, so people deduced what they thought it could mean. In the end, Busch later revealed that his gesture simply meant that Spencer had to be sent to the rear.

2. Kyle Busch Pushes Away Kevin Harvick’s Car (Darlington 2011)

In the final laps of the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch got together. Busch was unhappy, and he right-hooked Harvick into the wall. Harvick was understandably upset, and he tried to confront Busch post-race.

Harvick parked in front of Busch on pit road, and, as Harvick tried to block Busch, Busch pushed Harvick’s car away. The two never really seemed to agree on what happened, and, neither was suspended for what happened. All of this happened in back of Regan Smith winning his first career Cup Series race.

1. Tony Stewart’s PERFECT Helmet Throw (Bristol, August 2012)

Arguably the greatest helmet toss in NASCAR history. Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth were battling for the lead at Bristol in 2012 when they got together and spun out. Stewart was done for the day, but Kenseth ended up heading down pit road to fix the car.

Stewart expressed is displeasure by two-hand throwing his helmet directly at Kenseth’s nose. It was, as Andy Petree put it, ” a perfect strike.” That was all between the two as Stewart went behind the wall.

The longer NASCAR continues to go on, the more tempers that flare. This list is ever changing and ever growing year after year, so, who knows what will be added? Maybe a driver or an incident that no one could expect.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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