NASCAR fans love a good, old-fashioned rivalry. Unfortunately, last year’s big rivalry — Joey Logano vs. Denny Hamlin, and maybe you could even add in Tony Stewart, resulted in injry, sidelining Hamlin for several weeks. I’m all for a good rivalry, but I’d prefer that things stop way short of serious injury.
Anyway, Hamlin and Logano seem to have let bygones be bygons. But don’t worry, it looks like Brad Keselowski vs. Kurt Busch is going to take its place. Apparently, at least judging by one of Keselowski’s comments from over the past weekend, this rivalry goes back to the Kentlucky Speedway race last June, but it really picked up steam with a pit road incident this past Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
Early in the race, Keselowski and Busch made contact during a traffic jam on pit road. Fault was a matter of he said, he said, with Busch blaming Keselowski and Keselowski blaming Busch. Either way, when the smoke cleared, Busch still made his way to victory lane and Keselowski wound up 31 laps down in 38th. Keselowski took offense to the incident, itself, while Busch didn’t like Keselowski act of retaliation after the fact.
Honestly, as someone on the outside looking in, to me, it looked like it was just one of those racing deals. Of course, I guess that’s easy for me to say since I had nothing to win or lose in the matter. And, like I said, I was a mere spectator on the outside looking in. Either way, this looks like a rivalry that’s going to last awhile, judging by some in-race and post-race comments from the two drivers.
Here’s a collection of quotes from each driver regarding the incident:
“We won; we’re not worried about any of that nonsense right now. We are a winner.”
“Well, I guess we get to get in a fight afterwards because I’m going to ____ that dude’s ____ face up.” — told team via radio.
“He targeted us. He was aiming for us. He tried to flatten all four of my tires. That’s a no-fly zone. That’s a punk-ass move, and he will get what he gets back when I decide to give it back.”
“I can’t believe he over-reacted, and he’s as upset as he is. The 5 car (of Kasey Kahne) was trying to pull into his box, Brad ran into the back of him, I steered right to go around Brad and he clobbered our left-side door. And it’s like, ‘OK, accidents happen on pit road. It’s congested. It’s not a place to race because of all the pit-crew guys down there. And I didn’t think much of it.”
“Tell him to come here. I’m right here. He knows where I’m at. Leave victory lane. We’ll go.”
“He does awesome things for charity, and he’s probably the most talented racecar driver,” Keselowski said. “He’s also one of the dumbest. Put those three together.”
“Same thing — he wrecked me for no reason, 50 or 30 laps early in the race just being over-aggressive. Aggressive is good, but Lap-50 wrecking somebody? If you’re going to be aggressive, wreck yourself, don’t wreck me. I’ll remember that when it’s Lap 50 and he needs a break and he’ll find his ass turned around in the wall, just like he tore my car up. That will come around.” — remembering back to incident at Kentucky Speedway last year.
“Once or twice when it happens, you start to go, ‘Hey it happens.’ But when it happens repeatedly, you just realize the person is at fault and you’ve just got to make sure you show him you’re not going to take that. I’m not going to take it, and I know this 2 team is not going to take it. We had a race-winning car today and instead we finished 30-whatever with the whole front end tore off. That’s inexcusable.”
Get your popcorn, folks, sit back and enjoy the show. I think this is a rivalry that’s going to last awhile and provide some entertaining moments along the way. After all, these are two drivers who are both known for speaking their minds.
Have you taken sides? What are your thoughts? Let us know on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner
Photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR