A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

War of words between Kyle Busch and Stenhouse Jr. over Daytona crashes heats up at KY Speedway

By Benjamin Shipp
NKyTribune reporter

The tire smoke and debris have dissipated in Daytona, but Kyle Busch made sure that the drama of last week’s race at Daytona Super Speedway’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 made its way to the Kentucky Speedway.

Kyle Bush at Friday’s media briefing, talking about Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s tactics at Daytona and the lack of an apology. “He did not reach out. I am disappointed that he did not… If you wipe out half of the field, I’m pretty sure there would be a pretty busy Monday for him but there wasn’t.” Photo by Mark Hansel

After a week to ponder over how things unfolded in Daytona, Busch did not mince his words concerning fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s lack of an apology for his actions.

Busch was asked at Friday’s media availability if Stenhouse reached out to him or other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers.

“He did not reach out [to issue an apology]. I am disappointed that he did not… If you wipe out half of the field, I’m pretty sure there would be a pretty busy Monday for him but there wasn’t. So apparently he just doesn’t care.”

The mayhem started on lap 54 last week in Daytona when Stenhouse made a move to pass Brad Keselowski entering turn three and wound up catching Keselowski’s bumper, sending him into the wall and queuing a pile up involving NASCAR heavyweights Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Jimmy Johnson, Kurt Busch, and many others. Luckily for Busch, he managed to hold a high line on the No.18 Toyota through the pile up.

It didn’t take much longer for Bush’s night to be cut short though.

Just nine laps later, Stenhouse was viewed as the culprit by many drivers in another major wreck that sent Busch back to the garage, ending his night prematurely. By the time the checkered flag waved, only 20 drivers were left to finish the race, with Stenhouse among them.

Stenhouse would ultimately walk away with the same amount of driver points as winner, Erik Jones, after capturing the first two race stages and finishing in 17th. After the race, Stenhouse’s fellow drivers were so displeased with his actions that NASCAR delegated a security escort for his own safety.

Stenhouse Jr. (provided)

Kurt Busch, who also fell victim to the chaos that unfolded in Daytona last week, was quick to make his opinion on Stenhouse and NASCAR’s current scoring system well known on twitter saying,

“Thank you to everybody @StewartHaasRcng, car was fast. Sucks we got caught up in the #StenhouseDD (DemolitionDerby) but it’s a product of him being 17th in points and racing “for every point”.

In an interview with Sporting News, Stenhouse did not try to lay blame on anyone other than himself, “It’s aggressive speedway racing… We needed to win to get in the playoffs, so it is what it is.”

Whether the drama of last week’s race at Daytona will carry over to Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky speedway is yet to be known.
Busch, holding true to his unfiltered ways, said that he has no intention of being anywhere near Stenhouse come race time, saying, “I can’t worry about people that far back in the field.”

At the end of Friday’s qualifying run, it appeared Stenhouse was ready to make amends when he approached Bush’s car. But in an interview with NBC, he made it clear he was not.

“I felt like he ran his mouth enough on his radio and then after the race that I didn’t really have anything to say to him. I honestly feel like I normally do reach out to people when I make mistakes—and I clearly made a mistake—but with him running his mouth, I felt like I didn’t really need to call him.

“I just let him know that and I was like ‘Hey, you’re right. You do run a lot further up front’ but I also said, ‘Pick and choose your battles wisely because there will be sometimes where you’re lapping me or we get our cars better and we’re up there racing with you’. So, I told him if he wanted to keep running his mouth, to do it around me, and I’ll stop it for him.”

Benjamin Shipp is an intern at NKyTribune and a student at the University of Cincinnati. Contact the Northern Kentucky tribune at news@nkytrib.com

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com


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