MENCS Race Recaps

MENCS: Kyle Busch Returns Larson’s Favor, Wins Overton’s 400

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Busch bumps-and-runs Kyle Larson in the final corner after being walled by the driver in Turn 2.

Second place finisher, Larson “thought it was free game.  I ran into him first, he got me after that, maybe a little bit worse than I got him, but that is alright.”

Talking directly to a booing crowd, Busch said, “If you don’t like that kind of racing, don’t even watch.”

Larson raced his Chevrolet through the top-10 over the final stint before beginning the duel for the lead with less than 20 laps to go. The pair of drivers swapped racing lines, hoping to dirty the air around them or find an advantageous groove. With less than 10 laps remaining Larson brushed the retaining wall, but a thick gaggle of lapped traffic slowed Busch’s pace.

Racing under the white flag, Larson caught up to Busch. The leader took away Larson’s lane entering Turn 1, opening the door for a slide-job. Larson dove his car deep into the corner but didn’t have the grip to clear Busch; on exit he got into Busch’s left-rear quarter panel, sliding him into the wall. Now squarely in the lead, Larson, took the inside lane –probably to defend against a retaliatory slide job.

Taking an eye-for-an-eye mentality to the racetrack, Busch bumped Larson through the apex of the final turns. Larson sent sliding, and Busch shunting the outer wall. Sheetmetal cutting into tires, Busch kept in the gas; facing the inside of the track Larson shifted into third, caught the car, and salvaged a second place finish.

“I got really boxed in and got really slow,” said Busch. “I tried to get all of it on those last couple of laps. Larson tried to pull a slider but didn’t quite complete it. He slid up into me and used me, and then I kind of used him a little bit in (Turn) 3 to come back for the victory.”

His win is his second at the track and fifth of the year, in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Busch parked his tattered No. 18 – Skittles Red White and Blue Toyota on the start/finish line, he then claimed the checkered flag from a NASCAR official to a chorus of booing fans. Walking back down the track, Busch mimicked a crying face to NBC Sports camera crew.

 

Talking to another crew on pit road, after the race Larson said, “Oh man, I’m not upset. I had an opportunity there to slide in front of him and I figured I wouldn’t clear him or I would allow him to drive back underneath me.  So, I tried to get to his door and you know I opened the door for him to retaliate into Turn 3. … I love racing Kyle (Busch).  I know all these fans are probably mad at him, but hey we put on a hell of a show for you guys and that was a blast.”

To the fans booing Busch, Larson had this to say: “I just want to thank all you guys for being fans of the sport, fans for all of us drivers, we really appreciate it. That was a fun race. We both got our elbows up there, we ran into each other a couple of times and he came out the winner. So, I think if roles were reversed I would have done the same thing if he got into me off (Turn) 2. So, I probably would have ran into him into (Turn) 3, so, can’t fault him for that. That was just hard racing.”

 

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
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