Matt Kenseth nearly lost his spot in the playoffs thanks to a run-in with a stray emergency vehicle Saturday at Richmond Raceway, but that apparently wasn’t the first negative experience he’s had with an ambulance driver throughout his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
In fact, it wasn’t even his first one this year.
Ahead of Sunday’s Tale of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Kenseth told ESPN’s Bob Pockrass that he’s had some truly terrible EMS drivers. The 45-year-old racer recounted two such instances from 2017 alone.
During Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400, Kenseth was taken out of contention for a win after he collided with Clint Bowyer while trying to avoid an ambulance that was stopped at the entrance to pit road. NASCAR vice president of competition Scott Miller said after the race that the man at the wheel was told to stop by series officials, but didn’t comply with the orders.
“At the spring Richmond race, I was driving around the infield for about five minutes with him and he was lost and couldn’t find the care center,” Kenseth said. “So thankfully I wasn’t bleeding to death.”
In addition to the individual who seemingly had no sense of urgency getting Kenseth to the care center, he apparently also had a driver this year who had the opposite problem.
“The other one was after California or something like that, he drove so recklessly, it threw me right off the bench and I almost hit my head in the ambulance,” Kenseth said, via ESPN.
Given that Kevin Harvick reportedly echoed Kenseth’s comments, NASCAR seemingly has some serious problems it needs to address.
After all, drivers considered poor response times by emergency crews unacceptable even in the 1960s, leading to massive safety reforms in Formula One. What’s more, getting to care center in timely fashion is self-defeating if the passenger is getting tossed around in the back of the ambulance.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Liles/USA TODAY Sports Images