WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Kyle Busch climbed out of his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and briskly strode down pit road with a slew of media trailing cautiously behind him following Sunday’s I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
Busch had told his crew via in-car radio that they “better keep (him) away from that (expletive) after the race” after colliding with Brad Keselowski halfway through the 355-mile event. But the Joe Gibbs Racing driver veered left toward his hauler away from Keselowski’s parked No. 2 Ford following a brief, friendly word and handshake with AJ Allmendinger.
Make no mistake, however — he was not thrilled.
“Imagine that,” Busch said curtly, still walking, when the subject of making contact with Keselowski on track came up. He also said he would have to see the replay before drawing a conclusion on his collision with the Team Penske driver.
Keselowski agreed — in that facet.
“I would say that’s a pretty fair answer. I’d like to see it,” Keselowski said on pit road after the race. “All I know is I went in the corner and the 47 (Allmendinger) was the car behind me and I got to the corner and somewhere the 18 came up, who was behind the 47.
“So, I don’t know how he got there or what all transpired but I was already to the corner and couldn’t really do anything about it.”
Trouble appeared at Lap 45 of the 90-lap event at the bus-stop section of the road course. Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford made contact with Busch’s No. 18 Toyota, spinning both cars off track without making other significant contact. Keselowski pitted shortly after for possible damage.
“My spotter said, ‘Oh, somebody there’ but I had already got to the corner,” Keselowski recalled. “By then I was already committed and he was probably already committed — looked like he tried to make a big move from a couple car lengths back and it was more than there was room for all of us.
“So, it probably didn’t help either one of us, it was a bummer, but all-in-all we fought back to get the most we could out of it. It is what it is.”
Appearing to have watched the replay, Busch tweeted later that he “was fine and was going to make the corner just fine until I got drilled in my right side door.”
Nope. I was fine and was going to make the corner just fine until I got drilled in my right side door. U Watch again. https://t.co/zJ8j3RXcQq
– Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) August 6, 2017
He ended the race seventh, while Keselowski finished 15th, pitting from the lead with three laps to go after stretching his pit window as long as his fuel cell would allow it. He then was slapped with a pass-through penalty after driving through too many pit boxes.
“Nobody is happy when you have contact,” Keselowski said. “It didn’t help my day at all either, I can tell you that. I wasn’t looking to get into him and I don’t think he was looking to get into me. He probably had the dominant car. He didn’t need any trouble. But neither did I.”
This isn’t the first time the two have tangled on track. They most recently made contact on the opening lap of the XFINITY Series’ Irish Hills 250 at Michigan International Speedway on June 17. The pair also collided in the XFINITY Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19, 2016, prompting Busch to call Keselowski “a dirty racer.”
But don’t expect much of a chat between the two regarding Sunday’s incident.
“I don’t think he is really the listening type,” Keselowski said on a possible conversation. “So that is pretty doubtful.”