By admin | April 29, 2013
By Richard Allen
Say what you will about brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch, but they are rarely boring. And this past Saturday nightÂ at the Richmond International RacewayÂ during the Toyota Owners 400, they kept things lively once again.
Both brothers ran near the front of the field for much of the night and both found controversy at some point as well. Or perhaps itÂ could better be said that controversy found them instead of the other way around. And at one point, one brother even briefly questioned the other’s tactics.
Kyle Busch came into the event sporting an impressive record on the three-quarter mile speedway that included four wins and 12 top-5 finishes in the old Confederate capital city. And for a little while, it looked as if the younger of the two brothers would add to those lofty totals.
On lap 254, Kyle put his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at the front of the field causing crew chief Dave Rogers to proclaim, “Now this is Richmond” in obvious reference to the team’s past success there. But things were about to turn sour for the No. 18 team.
During a late race caution, NASCAR officials deemed that the No. 18 Toyota had improperly entered pit road by not dropping below the commitment line prior toÂ coming inÂ for service. The penalty for that is to drop to tail of the field for the ensuing restart.
However, Busch denied the charge vehemently. “In the drivers meeting they said to have two tires on the box where the cone would be,” Kyle yelled into his team radio. “I had two tires on the line.”
The debate between Busch, his team and NASCAR officials continued for some time. “Leave it to NASCAR to make a bad decision on your behalf. Right, Joe?” he asked at one time. ThatÂ question wasÂ meantÂ for owner Joe Gibbs in reference to last week’s finding that Matt Kenseth’s car had an illegal engine part following his win in Kansas.
Ultimately, Busch was involved in a lap 328 wreck that damaged his car enough that he could no longer be competitive. He would finish a rather disappointing, but eventful, 24th.
The real drama for Kurt Busch would not come until the closing stages of the race. The older of the two brothers kept his #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet near the front of the pack most of the night. But as the race drew to a close, the action got more intense, and the 2004 Sprint Cup champion found himself right in the middle of it.
Late race pit strategy schuffled the pack and Busch found himself further back than he would have liked. “Terribly sorry, guys,” he said over his team’s radio channel. “I just didn’t get this figured out.”
Ultimately, the final laps saw Kurt tangle with Martin Truex, Jr., Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart in what appeared to be incidents born out of hard racing. However, each driver had his own view of the situation.
Stewart walked over to Busch’s car after theÂ driversÂ parked in the garage and the two exchanged pleasantries for a moment. Meanwhile, Kenseth and Truex both blamed the Las Vegas native for the damage on their cars.
“It was a free-for-all at the end,” Kurt explained.Â ”Everybody was slamming everybody. I’m getting hit from behind. We got shucked out of there, too.”
The Busch brothers were both competitive and entertaining in Richmond. They even ran 1-2 for several laps at one point in the race. During one restart, Kyle keyed his radio to say, “OK, that was a jump start,” after Kurt got the upper hand at the waving of the green flag.
As usual, the Busch brothers were not boring, and that’s a good thing.
Topics: Articles |