August 20, 2010
Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch haven't been on the best of terms over the last couple years in the Nationwide Series -- Busch backhandedly dogged Keselowski after winning at O'Reilly Raceway Park back in July, for instance -- and Friday night proved that things are still a little frosty between the two.
Keselowski -- the Nationwide Series points leader by a commanding margin -- was racing Kyle Busch for the lead in the late stages of the Food City 250 at Bristol. As Busch went to clear in front of Keselowski after the two exited Turn 2, Keselowski nudged him, sending Busch's car into the wall.
The damage was minimal. Busch stayed in the gas and got to Keselowski's bumper in the next set of corners. And from then, you can guess what happened next:
"I thought I had him cleared on the back and I moved up in front of him and instead of him doing an Earnhardt crossover move, he decided he'd run up the back of me and put me in the fence," Busch told ESPN in Victory Lane.
"So that's Brad Keselowski, so you know, I went down into the next corner and dumped him. He does it to everyone else, why can't I do it to him? But whatever, it don't matter."
Well, actually, it does matter, as Busch's win Friday night tied him with Sam Ard (and himself) for the most wins in a single season in the Nationwide Series despite running a partial schedule. In 20 races this year, Busch has amassed an astonishing 10 wins.
And while Busch thought that he had Keselowski cleared, Keselowski thought differently.
"It was just hard racing, man," Keselowski told ESPN's Shannon Spake. "Just going for the win. You know, I was on the outside, he was on the inside, I got a great run through one and two and he did a good job and got up, almost cleared me and kind of took it for granted that I would lift to let him in line and I didn't, so that's his right.
"I'm not going to sit here and complain about it. We're going to go to work with our Discount Tire Dodge and and try to beat them next week and the week after and every other week."
Thanks to Busch's -- and Joe Gibbs Racing's -- decision to have Kyle drive only a partial schedule, Keselowski still has that big lead in the points standings despite being wrecked going for the (potential) win for the second time this summer. At Gateway, Keselowski nudged Carl Edwards as they entered Turn 1 on the last lap, not unlike the nudge that Keselowski gave Busch. Edwards did more than return the favor out of turn four, sending Keselowski careening into the wall in front of the rest of the field.
Keselowski was also dumped at Homestead in the final Nationwide race of the 2009 season by Denny Hamlin, who was exacting revenge for a series of events that culminated with a Keselowski-induced crash at Phoenix the week before, prompting a "What is wrong with that kid?" from Busch. (And let it be known that Keselowski is actually older than Busch.)
For their actions at Gateway -- and the actions at Talladega and Atlanta that helped precipitate the incident in Illinois -- both Edwards and Keselowski were put on probation by NASCAR. And Keselowski said that he felt that probation had something to do with Busch's immediate retaliation.
"Oh yeah, absolutely," Keselowski said. "You know, I got my hands tied behind my back but I'm not going to complain about it. We're just going to go to work and try to win races and win them the right way."
And whatever that right way actually is, I'm sure that Busch, Edwards and Hamlin will disagree with it.
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