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He was off by about 100 laps.

Stewart rallied from a lap down early in the race to put himself in position to challenge for the lead, but he ran out of track while running with Matt Kenseth and the two cars collided. The damage briefly knocked Stewart out of the race and sent Kenseth to pit road for repairs.

Stewart then showed his displeasure with Kenseth with a two-handed toss of his helmet directly into the front grill of Kenseth’s car. Stewart put all the blame squarely on Kenseth immediately after the accident, vowing to “run over him every chance I get for the rest of the year.”

As for the helmet collected by NASCAR officials on pit road? “The hell with the helmet,” he said.

Kenseth was confused with Stewart’s anger, claiming he gave Stewart room earlier to avoid a wreck and Stewart didn’t do the same.

“I guess he just wanted to do all the taking, so that’s where we ended up,” Kenseth said, adding the two had incidents this season at Sonoma and Indianapolis, and Stewart refused to speak to him about the Indy accident.

“I just said ‘OK, that’s fine. I’m just going to race you the same way you race me,’ ” Kenseth said.

As for Stewart’s threat to wreck Kenseth the rest of the year, Kenseth didn’t seem concerned.

“Look, Tony is probably the greatest race car driver in the garage. I don’t really have anything bad to say about Tony,” Kenseth said, adding he was expecting the helmet throw.

It briefly appeared that there would be two helmet throws during the race as Danica Patrick prepared her reaction following a wreck with Regan Smith. Patrick, who struggled mightily in Friday’s two practice sessions, had climbed to 19th on the board and was on the lead lap when her night ended.

As she approached the track on foot, drivers called for her to throw her helmet at Smith. Alas, Patrick just wagged her finger at Smith as he circled passed.

“We were just racing hard, this is Bristol, this is why people love this track because you see a lot of that, you see tempers flare,” Patrick said.

She’s right. It’s not wrecks that fans missed at Bristol, but they for sure pined for the angry explosions that racing around the tight bullring seemed to create. Drivers had mellowed the last several years at Bristol, and Smith figured narrowing the track surface would bring back the bumping and banging that put fans in the seats.

The drivers almost unanimously opposed any changes, but their protests were ignored as Smith moved forward with the grinding project.

Keselowski, the winner of the previous two Cup races at Bristol, was critical of the track after a wreck sent his car behind the wall for repairs.

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