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Kyle Busch to race Christopher Bell harder after COTA incident

RICHMOND, Va. – Kyle Busch has a simple approach for how he will race Christopher Bell after their on-track incident last weekend at Circuit of the Americas.

“Race him harder for a little bit until he concedes that he’s sorry on the race track,” Busch said Saturday at Richmond. “Then back to normal.”

Bell made contact with the rear of Busch’s No. 8 in Turn 1 last Sunday at COTA, spinning him on Lap 41. The two drivers were battling for fifth place at the time. Bell ended the day second while Busch finished ninth.

Busch later confronted Bell on pit road.

The confrontation was only the first conversation about the spin in Turn 1. The two former teammates had a phone call to discuss the incident prior to the race weekend at Richmond.

“I was surprised that he called me back,” Bell said. “I called him Monday and he didn’t answer. And then I thought that was going to be the end of it.

“And I was really happy that he called me back and we had a conversation. It was a good conversation. “We don’t have a lot of run ins but the two times that we have had run ins, he’s been on the losing side of it.”

The first sub-8 second pit stop could come this season.

Why did Busch return Bell’s phone call?

“I mean, just to give more of my side than what I said on pit road and to have him have a greater understanding into my objectives and what I’ve got going on versus what he might think that he’s got going on,” Busch said.

“Think he understood that. Then (I) heard his side of it and didn’t really believe much into it when I didn’t even give consideration to him making a move because he was four lanes back and then all of a sudden he was there.”

Busch acknowledged that there was added frustration based on his history with Bell.

They were teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing for two seasons. Bell also made 54 Truck Series starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports between 2015-2018.

Bell won seven races and the 2017 Truck championship.

“I would say that he’s one of my closest competitors,” Bell said. “Especially since (Kyle’s son) Brexton started running the dirt cars. We talk often whenever we run into each other about the dirt track racing.”

Last weekend’s incident at COTA was a bump in the relationship, one that could change how Busch races Bell.

Where do Busch and Bell go from here?

“I’ll just race him with respect as I’ve always tried to, and it is what it is,” Bell said.