NASCAR America: Analyzing Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tangle
Folks were still talking on Monday about the way Ricky Stenhouse Jr. shoved Kyle Busch out of the way at the end of Stage 2 in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
NASCAR America’s Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte were among those talking about the incident, which ended with Stenhouse shoving Busch out of the way to not only get himself (Stenhouse) back on the lead lap.
While Stenhouse said he did what he had to do to stay on the lead lap (and eventually finish 10th in the race), Busch was not happy . First, he was very vocal, releasing a profanity-laced outburst over his team radio after the run-in with Stenhouse.
Busch calmed down by the time the race was over, but won’t forget what he considered an affront done to him.
“I was trying to be a nice guy, but nice guys don’t finish first,” Busch said. “When you’ve got the leader to your outside and you keep banging him off the corner, that’s disrespectful, but do whatever you want.”
Busch then predicted the incident will come back to haunt Stenhouse at some point.
“It’s going to come back and bite you one of these days,” Busch said. “You just have to remember that race car drivers are like elephants, they remember everything.”
Let’s hear the reactions of both Letarte and Burton:
LETARTE: “I don’t have that big of an issue with Kyle Busch’s reaction. I’m almost okay with it. I love a driver to have that desire to go out and win that stage.
“So I don’t have a big issue with Kyle Busch and what he did. But I’m in love with what Ricky Stenhouse Jr. did. If you look at where Roush Fenway has been for the last three years – and I’ve probably been one of the most vocal to be disappointed in that organization.
“They’ve lost Greg Biffle, they’re down to two cars, they’ve moved personnel around. At some point, something has to change. They had a couple good runs at the beginning of the year.
“But then you heard Ricky Stenhouse clearly say, ‘I’m sorry, but I had to go.’ And then he said after the race that was a turning point. I like to see a driver that realizes that’s a turning point. I understand it was not to what Kyle Busch was expecting, I think we’re going to see more of this with the stages, but I’m fine with Kyle said.”
BURTON: “When you’re in the middle of a sporting event or something important in your life, if you can pop the pressure valve and let the pressure valve go down by saying or doing something that doesn’t harm anyone, that’s probably okay.
“When the driver wants to get something out of his body, the first instinct is to push that (team radio) button and talk because you want your buddies to hear it. You go to war with the people that are on your pit crew.
“He’s not talking to us (fans and media), he’s talking to the guys he goes to war with. I’ve got no problem with drivers getting mad and cussing and doing whatever. But when they start attacking a car owner or crew chief, I have a problem with that. But I have absolutely no problem with what Kyle Busch did during the race Sunday whatsoever.”