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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch voices frustration about back-markers

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Hazelnut Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kyle Busch battled from two laps down to get back on the lead lap and run near the front during Sunday’s South Point Casino 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. He wound up a lap down in 19th position at the finish after a run-in with Garrett Smithley, who finished 35th, 12 laps down. After the race, Busch directed his anger toward drivers who commonly race in the back.

“We’re at the top echelon of motorsports, and we’ve got guys who have never won Late Model races running on the racetrack,” Busch told NBC Sports. “It’s pathetic. They don’t know where to go. What else do you do?”

Smithley, who drives part-time for underfunded teams in the Cup Series defended himself through NASCAR.com’s Zack Albert.

“He’s never been in the position we’ve been in, so he doesn’t know how that goes,” Smithley said, according to a tweet from Albert (@Zack_Albert). “That the way I see it.”

Joey Gase, who also drives for an underfunded team, also chimed in. “Any days he (Busch) wants to switch cars, I’d be happy to,” Gase told Albert.

Busch responded via Twitter, suggesting that drivers like Smithley and Gase would have opportunities to driver better cars if they won races.

“Top tier drivers get hired by top tier teams,” Busch (@KyleBusch) tweeted. “Try winning. . . a lot. . . and u have a better shot of getting hired.”

From there, Busch and Corey LaJoie, another underfunded driver, engaged in a conversation in which they agreed that the problem was a lack of on-track awareness by some drivers. Even so, LaJoie confirmed the plight of underfunded drivers.

“You can put Jesus Chris int he 52 (the car Smithley was driving Sunday), and he’s not cracking the top 30 if nobody wrecks,” LaJoie (@CoreyLaJoie) tweeted.

Meanwhile, Smithley contended that he would’ve won Late Model races had he been in top tier entries at that level. He also tweeted a video that showed Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman passing him without issue, one going high and one low.

Smithley continued his defense on Monday, tweeting his racing story.

“Hey everyone, I figured given the events of the race Sunday I would quickly tell my story and defend myself (and the sport for that matter),” Smithley (@GarrettSmithley) tweeted. “Starting tomorrow, we’re focused on Richmond!

“I didn’t grow up in a racing family, and we certainly didn’t have the funds to race. The only race car my parents ever bought was a used Bandolaro race car when I was 15. I didn’t think I had a chance starting that late. We won enough that a local golf cart shop owner sponsored me and bought me a Legends car. I raced Legends cars in the southeast and won more races & championships.

“When I decided to move to Charlotte to pursue a career as a professional driver there is no doubt I had to basically give up the chance to win races in order to ‘fund’ getting the opportunity to race.

“You see, I am one of only a handful of drivers that actually has never spent any of my own money to race. So spending money to go win in a late model was never an option, because the only way I can afford to race is if someone else pays for it. Companies & sponsors have a hard time justifying money to run a competitive late model or even truck, when for the same or often much less they can sponsor a NXS or Cup car. The truth is for many of these companies, they know unless they spend the money it takes to sponsor someone like Kyle, they more than likely will not get the marketing value to justify that spend. However, they can justify a spend to be involved in the ‘big show’ to entertain guest(s), etc., for much, much less. The sponsors you see on my cars, Victory Lane Quick Oil Change, Trophy Tractor, FAME … they are real companies supporting NASCAR, and seeing the value of its 65+ million fans. I sell my own sponsorship to afford me the opportunity to do this.

“So about last night …

“1. I am not mad at Kyle and I get his frustration. I wish that situation would’ve turned out differently but what happened happened.

“2. Nobody that is considered ‘in the way’ wants to be. We are simply doing the best we can.

“3. Even though sometimes we ALL feel like this ‘sucks’ so bad or why won’t NASCAR ‘fix’ it, we have to remember, it’s not that easy. NASCAR is making positive changes but this is a multi-billion-dollar industry. It all takes time.

“4. I do think I can be competitive in the right equipment and I will even go a step further and say, with time and equal funding my teams with Rick Ware Racing, Johnny Davis Motorsports can be competitive too.

“5. As my friend Ross would say, ‘The Sun will come up in the morning!

“Thanks for all the support – Garrett.”

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Posted by on September 17, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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