Chase Elliott on Kyle Busch: ‘He made a mistake … I was on the wrong end of it’

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Chase Elliott said Kyle Busch was “deserving” of the middle finger Elliott gave him after being wrecked, but also stated that he didn’t think Busch crashed him on purpose Wednesday at Darlington Raceway.

Elliott said he was upset with Busch’s move that led to the contact and cost Elliott a chance to win the most recent Cup race. Elliott finished 38th. Busch, who finished second, said he made a mistake after the race and later apologized to Elliott.

“I think that (Busch) was trying to make a spot that wasn’t there,” Elliott said in a Zoom call with media Friday. “Much like I told him, I get that mistakes happen and that’s part of life. I get it, but he’s just not a guy that makes many mistakes. For me to be on the poor end of a rare mistake on his end, at the end of the day, is unfortunate for me and my team.”

Elliott said he has no regrets about the gesture he gave Busch after the incident when Busch drove by the accident scene.

“I thought it was warranted, and he was deserving,” Elliott said.

He also said: “I don’t think (Busch) did it on purpose. I hate that I was on the rare end of a rare mistake on his end. For a guy who doesn’t make many, hated that it was me that took the blow.”

MORE: Would retaliation by Chase Elliott send wrong message?

Even though Busch has owned the mistake, the question remains if and how Elliott might pay back Busch.

“Who knows the situations or the circumstances you will be presented down the road,” Elliott said about any retaliation. “At the end of the day, the whole reason Wednesday was as unfortunate as it was is because we were battling for a win. So I guess the bottom line is to try to put ourselves in position to win more and that’s a good problem to have. That’s my goal.

“Nobody is perfect. I get that. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m sure I’ll make plenty of mistakes as time goes on. I get it. I  just hate that I was on the wrong end of a rare one on his end.”

Elliott said he appreciated Busch owning the mistake.

“Kyle and I have gotten along for many years,” Elliott said. “I feel like I’ve raced him with a lot of respect because I respect him. I think he’s really good and he is. A two-time champion should be respected in my opinion. I think he’s earned that right.

“The respect from my end was there prior to the event. To hear that from a champion and a guy who we have raced really hard and clean together over the years, I think, goes further than someone who I don’t care for as much or somebody who I don’t get along with as well, or someone who doesn’t race with that kind of respect or that kind of integrity on track.

“What did it tell me about him? I learned he made a mistake and I was on the wrong end of it. He apologized to me. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the result. At the end of the day, it still costs us a shot at a win. At the end of the day that’s really the bulk of what matters to me and my team because we’re in the business to perform more than anything.”

Elliott will have plenty of chances to race Busch in the coming days. They’ll both be in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Wednesday Cup race there. Elliott also is scheduled to compete in Tuesday night’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Charlotte. Busch also is entered.

NASCAR announces changes to Kansas playoff weekend

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Citing “programming changes,” NASCAR announced shifts in the race dates and start times for its visit next month to Kansas Speedway.

The Xfinity, ARCA and Truck Series races have been shifted, while the Cup race remains at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 18.

The biggest move is the Truck Series race shifting from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Here are the changes.

Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m. ETARCA Menards Series on FS1 or FS2; network TBD at a later date (previously at 10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m. ETTruck Series on FOX (previously Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. ET Xfinity on NBCSN (previously 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

 

Xfinity Series playoff standings after Las Vegas

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Chase Briscoe opened the Xfinity Series playoffs by earning his second consecutive win.

His victory Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gives him 57 playoff points and an automatic spot in the Round of 8.

Harrison Burton holds the final transfer spot. He has a two-point advantage over Ross Chastain.

Behind Chastain below the cutline are Michael Annett (-10 points), Riley Herbst (-14) and Brandon Brown (-20).

Below is the full Xfinity Series playoff standings going into Saturday’s race at Talladega (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance. Drivers in yellow are in the remaining playoff spots.

Xfinity Series playoff standings

Cup playoff standings after Las Vegas

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Kurt Busch flipped the script on the Cup playoff standings with his win Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings, but is the first driver to clinch a spot in the Round of 8.

Replacing Busch in the bottom spot of the playoff standings is Austin Dillon. He is 32 points behind Alex Bowman, who holds the final cutoff spot.

Behind Bowman is Kyle Busch (-9 points), Clint Bowyer (-20), Aric Almirola (-27) and Dillon.

“Obviously, the 1 car (Kurt Busch) was not a car that we needed to win a race,” Clint Bowyer said after Sunday’s race. “It’s been a hell of a battle back there with cars that are kind of in the same wheelhouse as far as points-wise. (Kurt Busch) winning changes that landscape quite a bit, but we’re only 20 points out.”

Here is the full playoff standings entering Sunday’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance to the Round of 8. Drivers in yellow hold the remaining available playoff spots.

Cup playoff standings

 

 

Kurt Busch win capped off big racing weekend for family

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After hopping from the door of his No. 1 Chevrolet Sunday night, Kurt Busch let out a primal scream.

The source of his emotion?

“20 years of agony and defeat” at the his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, had been replaced by “triumph.”

After the fortunate timing of a caution and pit strategy Sunday night, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver led the final 26 laps and visited LVMS’ Victory Lane for the first time, a day after his brother Kyle Busch experienced a special win.

There was plenty more for the 42-year-old driver to celebrate. He’d entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings. But with his first win in 46 races, Busch became the first driver to plant in his flag in the Round of 8.

But the Las Vegas native’s focus was on the 1.5-mile track, which he’d seen evolve from a “desert gravel pit” into the site of two NASCAR race weekends each year.

“This feeling of growing up here and watching the track get built … when Speedway Motorsports came in and bought it, I’m like, ‘Man, there’s going to be a Cup race there, I hope I can make my way up through Legend cars (and race there). And just all the memories, all the memories of everybody, my mom and dad, every Saturday night, all the commitment they gave me and my little brother (Kyle Busch) to make it in racing.

“For me it was a hobby. I never knew I’d get this far. A guy named Craig Keough here locally in Las Vegas, the owner of the Star Nurseries here in Las Vegas, took a chance on me and let me run his late model a few times and we won a couple races and started working our way up.”

Busch made his first NASCAR start on the Las Vegas oval in 2001 driving for Roush Fenway Racing. Between then and Sunday, he won 31 Cup races, the 2004 championship and the 2017 Daytona 500.

But his home track eluded him until his 21st year competing on the sport’s top circuit.

Busch said Sunday’s win is “right there underneath” his Daytona win and the championship.

“Any time you win, it’s special,” Busch said. “But to do it in front of my hometown crowd and nobody was there (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and all the people that I see every time I come to Vegas and I get to say thank you and I can’t right now, that’s the hardest part. So this one is easily ramping up to being my third most favorite win ever.

“Right now it’s my favorite because it’s here, it’s Vegas, and I have so many people to thank. They know they helped me, and they know who they are, and it just all started with mom and dad taking me to the racetrack right here at the Bullring in Las Vegas.”

The Busch family got to celebrate more than one win over the weekend.

The night before Kurt’s Vegas breakthrough, a third generation racer got his first taste of victory.

Kyle and Samantha Busch’s son, Brexton, won his first karting race and celebrated with his parents in Victory Lane.

“It’s so much fun to watch him and just to see his excitement and how much he enjoys going to the race track and being with is friends,” Kyle Busch said after his sixth-place finish Sunday. “It’s three generations worth, I guess. My dad (Tom) did it, myself and Kurt and now him. It’s pretty fun to just be out there. My dad is kind of the truck driver, the team manager, the crew chief, the lead mechanic and all that stuff on his kart.

“He’s got a big task at hand in order to get it all ready to go and get us to the race track every week. It’s been fun to see (Brexton) and to see how excited he was when he was able to win and beat the other competition that was out there and to see his joy. I told him, ‘Whatever that feeling is, whatever you’re feeling, however that sits in you, that’s feasible, that’s possible a lot more often than just one time. So don’t rest on just getting one, we gotta go out there and fight for more.'”

Kurt Busch wasn’t there for his nephew’s win, but he got all the details from his sister-in-law as they flew to Las Vegas.

“It definitely felt like a generational shift was happening,” he said. “But maybe not. Maybe not. This old guy has still got it going on.”