Friday, 24 January 2020

NASCAR: Expect to be raced the same way you race other drivers – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR: Expect to be raced the same way you race other drivers – Beyond the Flag
11 Aug

Kyle Busch recently stated that he expected more out of his former NASCAR Truck Series drivers when it came to racing him at Watkins Glen International. But expectations should be to be raced the same way you race other drivers, no matter who they are.

After his Go Bowling at The Glen was filled with as much controversy of which he has been the subject in quite some time, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch ruffled some feathers with his statement about how his former Kyle Busch Motorsports NASCAR Truck Series drivers raced him.

Both Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron and Richard Petty Motorsports’ Darrell Wallace Jr. found themselves involved in separate scuffles with the driver of the #18 Toyota throughout the 90-lap race around the eight-turn, 2.454-mile (3.949-kilometer) Watkins Glen International road course in Watkins Glen, New York.

Byron drove for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the 2016 season after Wallace did so for two seasons in 2013 and 2014.

The drama began early in the race. Busch spun out trying to pass Byron for second place in turn one during stage one.

After this incident and before stage one ended, Busch felt wronged, even though literally every replay that has been shown backs Byron and shows that he didn’t change his line or “chop” Busch off like Busch suggested.

Busch proceeded to send Byron off the track in the chicane.

Byron attempted to retaliate against Busch after being told to do so by crew chief Chad Knaus, but unfortunately for him, he came up short, ultimately damaging his #24 Chevrolet more than Busch’s #18 Toyota when Busch brake checked him.

Toward the end of stage two, Wallace ended up off the track in the carousel. We later found out that Busch was the cause of this incident, although replays do not verify exactly what went down here.

When Busch and Wallace were running together in stage three, they bumped and banged down the front straightaway before Wallace used the front of his #43 Chevrolet to send Busch spinning into turn one, garnering a roar of approval from the crowd.

After these situations settled down over the course of the days that followed, Busch further ruffled feathers by suggesting that he was surprised by how Byron and Wallace drove him. He stated that he expected more from two of his former Truck Series drivers.

Here is what Busch had to say, according to NASCAR.

“It’s kind of surprising that you get into it with two former [Kyle Busch Motorsports Truck Series] drivers because you would kind of expect a little bit more or different than you would from some other competitors out there. So, I guess I just didn’t quite get that.”

He “didn’t quite get” the fact that this isn’t the Truck Series and Byron and Wallace no longer have contracts with him?

What is surprising about this? What is there not to get?

What does that even mean?

Does he feel like they owe him for their careers by letting him take advantage of them?

I won’t speculate.

Both drivers were justified in retaliating (or in Byron’s case, attempting to retaliate) against Busch for how he raced them. You get raced how you race other drivers. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if they used to be your Truck Series team owner or your kindergarten teacher or if they are still a member of your family.

The fact that Busch would even reference his Truck Series ties to Byron and Wallace from several years ago in regard to how he feels he should have been raced by them is somewhat amusing.

But Busch is no stranger to making these kinds of double standard-based remarks. After bumping and banging with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson on the final lap of last year’s race at Chicagoland, Busch sent Larson spinning before going on to win the race.

After winning, Busch mocked the crowd for booing him by “crying”, and he went on to state his now famous line.

“If you don’t like that kind of racing, don’t even watch.”

Busch and Larson both showed mutual respect to one another after the race, and truth be told, Busch seemed like he would’ve acted the same had Larson ended up on top in what was really a 50-50 battle.

Three weeks later, he disproved that theory on his own with a second place finish in a nip and tuck battle for the win.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick simply moved Busch out of the way to win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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Busch was not impressed afterward, saying that he expected Harvick to race him “fair”.

Harvick even referenced how Busch raced Larson in justifying why he felt it was okay to do what he did to Busch in order to secure what was the sixth of his career-high eight victories throughout the 2018 season.

He didn’t say it, but he echoed the sentiment Busch presented just 21 days earlier.

“If you don’t like that kind of racing, don’t even drive.”

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At the end of the day, this is NASCAR, and this is the Cup Series, NASCAR’s highest level. Drivers need to expect to be raced the same way they race fellow drivers.

Kyle Busch has been around long enough to know this, and he does know this, whether he lets on or not. Whether he feels wronged or not, he subjected himself to retaliation from both William Byron and Darrell Wallace Jr. throughout this past Sunday’s race based on how he raced them.

Who cares who they drove for in the Truck Series several years ago? It makes absolutely no difference.



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