Everyone has for sure heard the term “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Well that may be true but in the case of racing, what happens at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway will linger all this week.
The main story after the action on Sunday should be that Martin Truex Jr. is the first driver to say they swept all three stages in one race. Sure, the last one he had to capture with a pass with two laps remaining, but it still counts.
However, what took the lead in the headlines today wasn’t his victory.
Instead, it was about an incident that began on track, and ended on pit road, during the time Truex was burning down the tires on his Toyota.
On the final lap, in a tight battle for the fourth spot, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano scrapped in the third turn, with Logano appearing to drive in so hard the back end of his Ford got loose, and connected with the side of Busch, sending him spinning down pit road. Logano placed fourth, while Busch was relegated to 22nd. But, it didn’t stop there.
Busch exited his car, and waited, standing feet from the pit stalls. Once Logano came to a halt, Busch walked almost tunnel-visioned to the No. 22. He made it to his rival driver, and took a swing. Although he didn’t connect, it was enough to start the ensuing fight, which Logano was pulled away from by another official.
Many officials and team members separated the two drivers, but Busch came out the worst end, as noted by a cut above his eye that he let run down his nose even during the ensuing interview.
Video of the incident, including alternative angles, can be found here.
I cannot say my opinion on this incident, mainly because as a journalist I have to keep an open mind and not take sides. However, I can say NASCAR will look into the incident, and if anything is to happen as far as punishment goes, that comes in due time. But, one thing is for certain, this took all the attention off the winner, and unfortunately that is common when incidents like this happen.
Look at Gordon-Keselowski back in 2014 at Texas, or Logano-Stewart that same season. The attention goes away from the winner, and instead on an incident.
It’s part of racing, and at least NASCAR is willing to let the drivers argue about it afterwards, and only get involved as needed. As for Busch, well, he’s got the nickname Rowdy for a reason.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in this rivalry.
RESULTS: 1-Truex Jr. 2-Larson 3-Elliott 4-Logano 5-Keselowski 6-Hamlin 7-Blaney 8-McMurray 9-Kenseth 10-Bowyer
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Johnson 16-Earnhardt Jr. 22-Kyle Busch 30-Kurt Busch 38-Harvick
CAUTIONS: 6 for 34 laps. Lap 19-24 (#83 Incident-T2); 70-75 (#4 Incident-FS); 82-87 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 153-156 (#55 Incident-T2); 162-167 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 253-258 (Oil on the track from #10).
LEAD CHANGES: 14 among 6 drivers. B. Keselowski 1-19; M. Truex Jr. 20-24; B. Keselowski 25-70; J. Logano 71-75; M. Truex Jr. 76-124; B. Keselowski 125-126; T. Dillon 127-128; M. McDowell 129-130; M. Truex Jr. 131-153; J. Johnson 154-156; M. Truex Jr. 157-211; J. Johnson 212-227; M. Truex Jr. 228-243; B. Keselowski
244-265; M. Truex Jr. 266-267.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 56 Mins, 39 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 136.032 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.495 Seconds
POINT STANDINGS (Points/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]): 1. Keselowski, 132 ; 2. Larson, -1; 3. Elliott, -3; 4. Truex Jr, -5 ; 5. Logano, -13; 6. Blaney, -26; 7. Kurt Busch, -39 ; 8. Harvick, -41 ; 9. Kahne, -44; 10. McMurray, -46; 11. Bayne, -50; 12. Bowyer, -59; 13. Kenseth, -61; 14. Almirola, -62; 15. Hamlin, -64; 16. Menard, -70.