I knew it wouldn’t take too long for NASCAR to get exciting again. Last night’s race under the lights a Darlington, despite ending in a rainout was full of fun and drama. Denny Hamlin won thanks to some “luck” that his teammate Kyle Busch wrecked his only competition before Elliott had a chance to contend for the win.
Just like that after a caution and a one-finger salute from Chase Elliott, the race was over as the rain came down. I put luck in quotations because, despite Kyle Busch’s apologetic nature after the race, there is still a conspiracy theory at large as to whether Busch meant to do this or not.
When you watch the wreck, it is clear that at no point was Busch clear of Elliott, in fact he was not even close to being clear. Misjudgment of the space he had was to blame, but it seems like such an amateur mistake in a significant time of the race for a driver of Busch’s caliber and experience to make.
On live broadcast, Jeff Gordon was quick to say that it looked like to him that Busch was more than likely looking in his rearview mirror at oncoming car Kevin Harvick to see where the hole he’d need to squeeze into would be. In doing that, he wasn’t paying enough attention to the car in front of him and got into him. A simple mistake, but kind of bush league, no pun intended.
Every team has access to radar to be able to see when rain is about to strike, so Busch and his team were aware that rain might make an appearance before they completed the remaining 25 laps. Busch, who had a struggling car all night was probably in the midst of a steep decline while also watching the faster Chase Elliott run down his teammate. Is it possible Busch spun Elliott out in order to save position as well as secure JGR the win?
Honestly, it’s hard to tell, because the incident almost looks intentional, but at the same time you don’t want to believe that any driver would do something that malicious, but this is Kyle Busch, his reputation precedes him.
If I had to make an honest guess, I think that Busch did start to misjudge where Elliott was on the track, everyone makes mistakes. However, I think there was a moment where Busch could’ve pulled down to save Elliott from spinning, but being Kyle Busch he decided he mine as well not take any half-measures nor cost himself spots by pulling back. A driver like Kyle Busch has the awareness to catch themselves before making a mistake like that, he just didn’t want to once the deed was started.
Either way, I think the boiling point is just about there for Elliott and crew with JGR drivers. If Elliott’s gesture and crew chief Alan Gustafson’s comment’s on “getting tired of being run over” are to be analyzed, I’d say payback is surely coming in some form.
Without a full week to cool off, drivers’ tempers are sure to be much harder to control.