BRISTOL, Tenn. – A case of brotherly shove at Bristol Motor Speedway?
Kurt Busch didn’t get the chance to deliver a love tap to his younger brother that could have changed the outcome of Sunday’s Food City 500, but he vowed there would have been no hesitation had his No. 1 Chevrolet reached the rear bumper of winner Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota.
“Kyle’s won here eight times, I’ve got six,” Kurt told NBC Sports. “A lot of times you’ve got to stay out on old tires and just do battle. I was smiling ear to ear. I thought it was ours. Just couldn’t quite lean on the right rear tire as hard as I wanted to on restarts.
“So my plan was to let him go and get to the high side quicker than him, reel him in. It just didn’t time out right. I overstepped the car’s limits in Turn 1 with three (laps) to go. Otherwise, I was going to wreck him in (Turns) 3 and 4 coming to take the checkered. I was going to flat out wreck him. Absolutely. That puts us in the playoffs. He’s already won this year. I’m with a new team. He can get over it.”
It still might have made family dinners slightly awkward if Kurt had played rough to finish first instead of second. The brothers from Las Vegas were running 1-2 by electing to stay on track when several lead-lap cars pitted before a restart with 14 laps to go.
Kyle Busch joked that if he “ever was running second to Kurt, I’m going to wreck him” now that he was aware of what would happen if the roles were reversed.
“You can’t tell people (you’ll wreck them) because then they’re going to do the same thing back to you whether or not you did it or not, so he’s an idiot,” Kyle told NBC Sports with a laugh in his victory lane interview. “But I don’t know. I don’t know what would have happened. I certainly would have wished that he won’t wreck me, but they’re racing for a win. We’ve already gotten a couple of wins.
“So anything can happen with guys who are in desperation like that, but it’s a little early in the season to go that way.”
Kurt’s first season with Chip Ganassi Racing is going well with Sunday’s season-best runner-up being the third top five in eight races. Busch, who is eighth in the points standings, individually thanked each of his team members afterward.
“I thank the guys each week,” said Busch, who started 27th but scored his third top 10 in four weeks after qualifying outside the top 20. “We’re making really good steps and getting good speed out of it. We just haven’t put it all together. Struggling in qualifying. I can’t quite lean on the right-rear tire, and I hurt us a little today on that last restart.
“We got a lot of pieces to the puzzle and we’ll get it right. It’s a good start.”