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Kyle Busch Speaks Out for the First Time Since “The Fight”

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What’s Happening?

Ever since “the fight” last weekend between Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Busch has remained relatively silent. That changed on Wednesday, when he joined Charlie Marlow, filling in for Kenny Wallace on “The Kenny Wallace Show.” Here are the highlights of what Kyle Busch had to say about the fight, for which he received no penalty.

  • Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came together on the first lap of the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Busch hit the wall after Stenhouse Jr. tried to go three-wide, and Busch tried to send a message by bumping Stenhouse Jr. in turn one the next lap. Stenhouse Jr. took exception to this and waited for Busch in the infield after the race. The fight ensued when Stenhouse Jr. threw a punch at Busch.
  • Despite Busch being the one who was punched, he shared some of the same sentiments as some fans about the penalty. He wasn’t so sure about the steep $75,000 fine.
  • Fans felt the penalties that NASCAR gave out were a bit too harsh. However, some felt Busch should have been penalized for intentionally trying to wreck Stenhouse Jr. Busch also addressed why he did what he did on lap 2.

Did Busch Wreck Stenhouse Jr. Out Intentionally?

Busch was first asked about the fight and the incident itself. In it, he answered exactly what everyone had been hoping to hear: Did he intentionally wreck Ricky Stenhouse Jr.?

To me, it’s just lap one. The water’s not even hot. The tires aren’t even hot. You’re kind of slipping a little bit, but I ran wide in turn one and gave the opening to the middle. [Stenhousr Jr.] took it.I gave room on the exit to make sure we didn’t touch, so I touched the fence a little bit. I was touching the fence, and he still ran into me and brushed off of my left front corner. It was inevitable that I was going to get put in the fence anyways, so I wasn’t too pleased about that. I did come back and and retaliate and showed my displeasure of that. As one guy once said, ‘I meant to Rattle his cage’ and spin him out. I didn’t mean for him to overcorrect and stuff it in the fence, but that’s sort of what happens sometimes.

Kyle Busch

Was the contact with Stenhouse Jr. in turn one intentional? Yes, Busch did intend to send a message, but he says he didn’t try to wreck Stenhouse Jr. Typically, NASCAR allows drivers to “Self-police” on the race track, and a small bump here or there isn’t typically bopped. As we can see in the video below, Busch didn’t hook Stenhouse Jr. into the wall, but it’s obvious he was trying to send a message.

Compare that to an incident that NASCAR cited to suspend a driver. In 2022 at Las Vegas, Bubba Wallace proceeded to right hook Kyle Larson into the outside retaining wall after some small contact off of turn four. This happened at around 3X the speed and was a direct turn into the wall.

These are not the same scenarios, so that’s probably why NASCAR elected to keep Busch off the penalty report. However, Busch did admit that he wanted to “Rattle his cage,” similar to Dale Earnhardt.

Was the Penalty Justified?

One of the biggest issues fans and drivers had with the penalty is how NASCAR promoted the fight following the race. NASCAR went from making multiple social media posts early in the week related to the fight to dropping the hammer on Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his team due to the fight with a $75,000 fine for Stenhouse Jr. and suspending two crew members alongside Ricky Stenhousr Jr.’s father.

Busch gave his thoughts on how NASCAR should police instances like this. He believes that NASCAR should take an all-or-nothing approach. Either allow fighting and promote it, or don’t allow it.

Either got to not let it happen at all, or you got to let it go for at least the guy not throwing the first punch to have a way of being able to get back into it. Obviously too, the advertising and the promotional side, I still don’t know if there’s been any posts on NASCAR social that hasn’t had to deal with a fight since Sunday night. You know they’re promoting it, but, yet, they don’t want us doing it or they penalize you for doing it…If we’re not going to set up clear and concise areas for us to fight in, then I don’t know that we need to be fighting.

Kyle Busch

This is a double-edged sword for NASCAR. Fights create intrigue and drama but are also dangerous and can look unprofessional. Busch believes NASCAR has to go one way or the other.

Do you completely ban fighting and remove the hot tempers that many love to see in NASCAR? Do you choose to go back to the “Boys have at it!” route, and put it completely in the Driver’s Hands regardless of the consequences?

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