Kyle Petty: NASCAR should ‘step into’ Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. feud

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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.”

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. offers advice to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. about Daytona

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After bearing most of the blame for multiple accidents at Daytona International Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has some bridges that need repair.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Petty had some advice for Stenhouse Wednesday on NASCAR America.

The first question posed to Earnhardt on Twitter (using the hashtag #WednesDale) in this episode concerned Stenhouse and the proper protocol for reaching out when a driver is involved in an incident.

“If he text messages any of these drivers, that just shows that he’s not truly remorseful.” Earnhardt said.

Before the age of cell phones, drivers would settle their differences at the end of race. Kyle Petty recalled a race in which he intentionally wrecked Dale Earnhardt Sr. after the Intimidator roughed him up at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Afterward, Earnhardt approached Petty and asked what that was all about.

“I just got tired of your (expletive),” Petty said.

“I thought so,” Petty recalls Earnhardt saying. And that was that.

But in today’s age when drivers tend to go their separate ways after a race, technology takes over.

“In today’s world with technology and all that – if you’re gonna call a guy, call him the next day,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.

“If you wait until the next race weekend, the guy thinks that you’re not going to bring it up,” allowing the incident to fester.

After initiating an accident in 2009 by spinning Brian Vickers at Daytona, Earnhardt knew that it would take a while to rebuild trust among the other drivers.

“For Ricky, going forward, he needs to try to eliminate this from his next plate race,” Earnhardt said. “When he goes to Talladega later in the season, try not to continue this trend. Put a little space between this race and the next time you want to do something stupid. That’s what I always tried to do. If I screwed up, I’d lay low for a while.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones rocks the flow

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Erik Jones hails from Byron, Michigan – a three-hour, fifteen-minute drive from Mullett Township on the state’s northern shore.

As he stood on the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway at the conclusion of the Coke Zero 400 with his mullet flowing in the breeze, Dale Earnhardt Jr. proclaimed it to be a victory for the hairstyle nationwide.

“It sure was,” Jones responded. “I was glad to get the mullet into Victory Lane. It was a long hard road to grow this thing back.”

That led the NASCAR America analysts to discuss how Jones’ flow stacks up against some other classic mullets from the past couple of years.

NASCAR America presented its Flow Chart – a comparison of Jones to Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney.

“Chase – let’s be honest – when he puts that hat on and it goes crazy back there, that’s typically when his fans go crazy,” Rutledge Wood said.

Regarding Blaney’s hairstyle from 2017, Wood added: “I don’t know where in Ryan Blaney’s hair adventure last year that was, because let’s be honest it was monumental.”

But Blaney’s mullet fell to Roger Penske’s corporate image at the beginning of 2018.

Mullet heads worldwide don’t have to worry the same thing will happen to Jones.

“(Joe Gibbs) accepts it,” Jones said. “He just kind of lets it go for the most part.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Kentucky preview, Chase Elliott’s Darlington scheme

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to preview this weekend’s racing at Kentucky Speedway.

Rutledge Wood hosts with Kyle Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr. from the Big Oak Table in Charlotte.

On today’s show:

  • It’s Wednesdays with Dale Jr. live from the Big Oak Table in Charlotte. We’ll discuss the upcoming weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Will anyone be able to challenge NASCAR’s Big Three of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick & Martin Truex Jr?
  • Chase Elliott revealed his throwback paint scheme for this year’s race at Darlington. We’ll find out why this year’s car has such a special meaning to Chase and the entire Elliott family.
  • Erik Jones scored an emotion-filled win Saturday night at Daytona, but will his victorious mullet make our list of most memorable hairdos in NASCAR history?
  • Plus, if you have a question for Dale Jr., please use #WednesDale on Twitter. Dale Jr. will answer them on today’s show.
If can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones’ call from Victory Lane was amazing for Carol Jones

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Standing on the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway doing his victory interview, Erik Jones’ first thoughts turned to his mother and father.

Erik lost his father to cancer two years ago to cancer. His mother stayed home because restrictor-plate racing makes her nervous.

“It sounds clichéd a little bit,” Jones said. “But it was the first thing I thought about was my mom and dad. I wanted my mom to be here, number one.”

Erik did the next best thing. Standing in Victory Lane after the Coke Zero Sugar 400, he paused to make a phone call to his mother, Carol Jones. Tuesday on NASCAR America, she called Marty Snider, Kyle Petty, and Steve Letarte to share feelings about her son’s first win.

Watching the final laps of the race, “I pretty much was biting my fingernails off and my heart was just racing because those last couple of laps were really hard to watch.”

It was the fulfillment of a dream. Erik’s father Dave Jones was instrumental in the development of his career, but Carol was the one who first suggested racing as a vocation.

“When we started 15 years ago or so on this journey, I really never expected it to go this far. … I was the one who instigated it, but Erik and his Dad were the two that pretty much put it into overdrive and just kept going and going. To see him, where he’s at right now because this is what he worked so hard for, and to see him get this win is just amazing.”

For more, watch the video above.