Kyle Busch discusses Watkins Glen incidents with Bubba Wallace, William Byron

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BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kyle Busch admits it was “surprising” that the two drivers he had issues with last week at Watkins Glen International were those who raced for his Truck Series team early in their careers.

Busch had confrontations on the track with Bubba Wallace and William Byron at the Glen. Wallace drove for Busch’s Truck team in 2013-14, Byron drove for Busch’s Truck team in 2016.

“I would say it’s kind of surprising, I guess, that you get into with two former drivers because, I guess, you would kind of expect a little bit more or different from them than you would say some other competitors out there,” Busch said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “I guess I just didn’t quite get that. Overall, as far as conversations went … was better understanding between the both of them. Move forward.”

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Said Wallace of his meeting with Busch: “We both agreed to disagree on what led up to those events and what happened and obviously frustrations were high.”

“We had a good conversation. We were kind of pissed off with each other. I’d say something and piss him off and vice versa but at the end of the day we shook hands and it was over with. He finished 11th (at Watkins Glen), I’m not a threat to him. But at the same time I’ve still got to get my respect.”

Busch said that issues with Wallace began before Watkins Glen.

“There were two other races prior to that one that had kind of built up to the backstretch,”  Busch said. “I set up my pass on him for the inner loop back in Turn 2, got a run on him through 2, got a run on him through 3. He messed up Turn 3 pretty bad and I was on him and actually to his outside through Turn 4 and he didn’t know I was there and he ran me off in the dirt off Turn 4. I had to get off the gas.

“And so I figured the next time I get to him, If I get him and I’m alongside him or not and he comes over and chops my nose, it is what it is. That’s what happened in the carousel. Did I mean to crash him? No. I didn’t mean to crash him. Did I mean to move him? Sure. It escalated from there.”

Busch was upset with Byron after spinning on Lap 2 as he tried to pass Byron.

“He came down and chopped and hit me in my left front, which just spun me out,” Busch said. “Yes, I think it was avoidable.”

“If you look at lap 3, (Martin Truex Jr.) was passing (Kyle Larson) getting into Turn 1 and (Larson) gave a car width and half of room and everything was fine. And if you fast forward again to Lap 13 and (Truex) was passing (Byron) the exact same way I was getting into Turn 1 and (Byron) broke hard enough to where he got behind (Truex) before they got to the corner and made the corner single file. There’s different things at different times. Now, if it was the last lap, I would have expected him to do exactly what he did. Lap 2, you expect different I guess.”

Said Byron about the incident: “We got a chance to talk, and obviously I have a lot of respect for Kyle, having driven for him and winning the races that we did. That year in 2016 was a big deal for my career. But as far as racing goes, I felt like I gave enough room. He feels like I didn’t give enough room. Obviously, it’s just racing. Stuff like that happens and you learn from it. I learned a little bit about Turn 1 and what maybe I could have done differently. Hopefully he learns a little bit too.”

Byron retaliated by running into the back of Busch’s car under caution after crew chief Chad Knaus told him to do so on the radio. Busch saw Byron coming and hit the brakes, causing Byron to ram into the back of Busch’s car harder and damaging Byron’s car.

“I mean ultimately I’m driving the race car and have got to make good decisions,” Byron said of what Knaus told him to do. “If he tells me something to do, I ultimately make the decision. It’s up to me, obviously it’s my space and everything. I felt like I was done a little wrong and that’s kind of how I handled it. Unfortunately, it cost me a lot more so I learned from that for sure.”

For Byron, this is his second high-profile incident this summer with a veteran driver. Brad Keselowski wrecked Byron in practice at Daytona when Byron came down to block. So does Byron feel as if he’s being picked on veteran drivers?

“I feel like there is a way it could be handled and not, I guess, be taken out quite so much on me with the brake check and the (Daytona) practice crash,” Byron said. “I don’t know. They’re racing me how they feel I need to be raced. I race them as well.”

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

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