NBC Sports analyst Kyle Petty believes NASCAR should “step into” the Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. feud before it erupts into a repeat of the Matt Kenseth-Joey Logano feud from 2015.
Petty made his comments Saturday on NASCAR America prior to the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
“Where is NASCAR?” Petty said. “They didn’t step in when Logano and Kenseth got in their scrap and we saw how that ended up at Martinsville. We heard Ricky say, ‘I’ll take care of it.’ That seems to be a little bit over the line. NASCAR needs to step into this before it ends up on the race track and these other 36, 37 guys are involved in something that’s not of their making. … I don’t care who it is. NASCAR needs to step into this.”
After Kenseth was spun by Logano in the closing laps of a playoff race at Kansas Speedway, the feud simmered for weeks until Kenseth intentionally wrecked Logano in the playoff race at Martinsville Speedway while Logano was leading. Kenseth was punished with a two-race suspension.
Stenhouse and Busch have been at odds since last weekend’s race at Daytona International Speedway.
Busch and Stenhouse were running 2-3 in Stage 2 when Stenhouse attempted to side-draft off Busch’s car. The two made contact, sending Busch into the wall. The resulting incident collected six cars.
That was 10 laps after a 26-car incident that began when Brad Keselowski, who was in second and being pushed by Stenhouse, checked up due to a block from William Byron and spun off Stenhouse’s bumper.
On Friday, Busch said he was “disappointed” Stenhouse hadn’t reached out to apologize.
“He wiped out half the field,” Busch said. “Pretty sure there would be a pretty busy Monday for him but there wasn’t. So, apparently he just doesn’t care.”
Asked if he would race Stenhouse differently, Busch said: “I can’t worry about people that far back in the field.”
During qualifying later in the day, Stenhouse approached and spoke to Busch as he sat in his car.
“I told him that, I was like, ‘Hey, you’re right, you do run a lot further up front, but pick and choose your battles wisely because you will have to deal with me sometime whether you are lapping me or we get our cars better and we are up there racing with you,’” Stenhouse told NBC Sports. “So I told him if you want to keep running his mouth, he can come over and do it around me and I’ll stop it for him myself.”
Busch starts fifth in tonight’s race. Stenhouse starts 14th.
Before the race NBC Sports’ Marty Snider asked Stenhouse if he’ll race Busch differently.
“No, I won’t, unless he gives me another reason to,” Stenhouse said. “I don’t ever plan on getting into anybody on purpose or holding up a leader if they’re lapping me.”