By admin | August 18, 2009
By Richard Allen
It seems as though there is always a brewing rivalry every time NASCAR heads toward a short track. This week, as competitors move onto the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, is no different.
This time, it is Toyota campaigners Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers who find themselves at odds.
During last week’s Nationwide Series race in Michigan the two drivers appeared as though they were going to settle the issue among themselves. However, by racing each other hard they allowed Chevrolet driver Brad Keselowski to sneak by and grab the victory.
After the race is when the sparks really began to fly.
Busch drove onto pit road and into Vickers’ parked car. Then, he proceeded over to his opponent’s car and stuck his head in the window to deliver a few choice words. Vickers then emerged from his car and the two briefly confronted each other with fingers pointing and Busch lifting the visor on Vickers’ helmet before they were headed their separate ways.
However, it was the words that followed that made things really interesting.
“He hung on my right rear quarter panel all the way down the front straightaway and gave the win to the 88 car,” an angry Busch explained when asked why he was so upset with Vickers. “He slowed us down so much, he had no idea the 88 car was coming.
“It was just stupid,” he added. “Sometimes you race with idiots.”
It seems as though Busch has a knack for these sorts of confrontations. When a driver runs at the front of the field as often as he does, these things are bound to happen but it is almost as if he has a new foe each week.
As for Vickers, he had a retort of his own.
“Oh man, I‘m so sorry” Vickers sarcastically apologized. “I forgot it was the Kyle Busch show. Hell, I thought we were racing for a win.”
Vickers went on to say that Busch had knocked the fender of his car in unnecessarily and then came over to his car and cried like a baby. He also added that he told Busch to let him get out of the car and they could, “settle it like men.” Vickers told reporters that when he got out of his car Busch suddenly disappeared to the other side of pit road.
Now, as both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series’ head to Bristol, it will be interesting to see if this feud carries over.
As of this writing, Vickers was not entered in the Nationwide Food City 250. Needless to say, both are entered in the Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup event.
Here is where the real rub could occur. Both drivers currently find themselves on the outside of the top-12 of the Chase for the Championship standings with only three races remaining before the cut is made for the playoff. Vickers is currently 13th while Busch sits in 15th. Both are within striking distance of the top-12.
This is not to say that these drivers will intentionally seek each other out to cause a crash. But, how often does it seem to occur that two guys who had a beef with each other the previous week wind up racing each other at some point the next week?
With championship implications, these two may be less inclined cut slack toward the other. It is only human nature to be less generous to those we have issue with.
If with 5-10 laps top go these two drivers find themselves racing for position the ‘give and take’ may turn into all take and no give and that could have Chase implications. It could be interesting in Bristol.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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