Monday, August 07, 2017

Busch, Keselowski Offer Differing Views On Mid-Race Crash

Busch was fuming after the race.
Kyle Busch stalked away from his M&Ms Caramel Toyota following Sunday’s I Love New York 355 at The Glen; trailed by a pack of reporters anxious to witness a promised, post-race dustup between the Joe Gibbs Racing driver and rival Brad Keselowski, who had tangled on-track earlier in the day.

Despite an earlier warning that his crew “better keep me away from that @#$%& after the race,” Busch disappointed the media entourage, walking straight to his team’s transporter without so much as a sideways glance toward Keselowski.

Their lap-45 crash – as well as an earlier pit road miscue that dropped him to the tail of the field – ruined what appeared to be a dominating day for the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, dashing his hopes of sweep the WGI weekend and claiming his second consecutive MENCS checkered flag.

The two raced side-by-side into The Glen’s tricky “bus stop;” a right-left-left-right chicane that is difficult to negotiate, even in single-file formation. They banged doors and spun, with Busch unable to re-fire until he had fallen nearly a half-lap behind the leaders. Both drivers were forced to pit shortly afterward for tires and body repairs, effectively ending their hopes for Victory Lane.

Kyle led early...
Busch rebounded to seventh at the finish, with Keselowski 15th after driving through too many pit stalls on his final stop and serving a NASCAR penalty.

"I was going in the corner and I had (AJ Allmendinger) behind me,” explained Keselowski afterward. “I got to the corner and my spotter said `somebody there.’ I had already gotten to the corner and by then I was already committed.

"I think he was probably committed (as well). It looked like he tried to make a big move from a couple of car lengths back and it was more than what there was room for. It probably didn't help either one of us. It was a bummer.”

Asked for his post-race take on the incident, Busch said simply, "Imagine that. I couldn't tell you (what happened). I haven't seen (the replay)."

Brad led late...
Busch and Keselowski have had their moments before on the 2.454-mile road course. In 2012, Busch spun after last-lap contact from Keselowski on an oil-slicked race track, ending his hopes for victory.

Earlier this season, they tangled on the opening lap of a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Michigan International Speedway in June, and following a similar dust-up at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016, Busch called Keselowski “a dirty racer.”

This time around, however, both drivers likely owned a share of the blame, whether they accept it or not.

"This is a track where you fight for inches,” countered Keselowski. And we both are probably not willing to give in. It didn't help my day at all either, I can tell you that. I wasn't looking to get into him and I don't think he was looking to get into me. He probably had the dominant car. He didn't need any trouble. Neither did I.

After viewing the post-race videotape, Busch later tweeted that he “was going to make the corner just fine until I got drilled in my right side door.”

Asked if he expects to talk through the incident before this weekend’s race at MIS, Keselowski said, “I don’t think (Busch) is really the listening type.

“So that is pretty doubtful.”

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