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February 28, 2020

Kyle Busch: Harvick’s bounty is ‘unique opportunity’ for Gander Trucks

FONTANA, Calif. – Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson have accepted the bounty but Kyle Busch remains unfazed by any challengers he may have in his remaining four Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2020.

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“It’s all good. I think it’s going to be interesting, exciting,” Busch said. “… It’s a unique opportunity for more attention on the series, which is good.”

Busch later added: “I don’t remember who I told, but once (Kevin) Harvick kind of put the idea out there (I thought) the guy that’s really going to have a shot is Larson at Homestead, so bring it on.”

Following Busch’s 57th career Gander Trucks victory last Friday night at Las Vegas, Harvick offered up a $50,000 bounty for any full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver who can find a truck ride and beat Busch in one of his remaining four events this season. The ante was raised when Gander RV & Outdoors CEO Marcus Lemonis committed to matching Harvick’s bounty, putting a full total of $100,000 on the table.

Elliott and Larson have each nabbed rides for Gander Trucks races — Elliott at Atlanta (March 14, 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1) and Larson at Homestead-Miami (March 20, 8 p.m. ET on FS1) — with GMS Racing in its No. 24 Chevrolet entry. In addition to Atlanta and Miami, Busch is slated to also run the Gander Trucks races at Texas (March 27 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1) and Kansas (May 30 at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

“I’d like to beat him,” Larson said of Busch. “It’s really not about the money to me. I think its a cool, fun challenge and I look forward to trying to beat him and if the money is still out there when I do get that chance, it will be a lot of fun. Kyle Busch is the best. Doesn’t matter what type of car he’s in.”

Larson also clarified his “cherries” tweet that jumpstarted the whole bounty idea.

“It was really a joke,” Larson said. “I’m not offended when Kyle Busch wins Truck races. “I actually like it a lot because it helps expose the guys who are good and the ones who aren’t. When he does win and he has to battle for the wins, I think it shows the kids are really good. I more just dropped some cherries on there because when I do win dirt races I do get a lot of that as well.”

Larson also added that he wished the bounty would extend to any Gander Trucks series regular if they beat Busch and got the victory in a race that “Rowdy” was in. And he’s in luck because Michael Waltrip revealed on Twitter Friday night that someone is putting up their own $50,000 bounty if a series regular knocks off Busch.

And Elliott and Larson may not be the only drivers to take part. Would Joey Logano want a shot to beat Busch in a truck? How about Austin Dillon?

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“If the opportunity was there, I’d probably take a look at but I haven’t been searching at this point,” Logano said. The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion added that he “loved the idea” put forth by Harvick and the buzz around the series.

Dillon was a fan of the idea when it was first conceived and the 2011 Gander Trucks champion admits he is lurking if Elliott and Larson can’t get it done.

“I’d like to build a chassis out of (Richard Childress Racing) and get to Texas or Kansas,” Dillon said. “I really wanted Homestead. That was my first goal but we just can’t get it done in time. I’m still working on it. If those two that are out there running it now – Larson and Chase – can’t get it done, then maybe we’ll sneak and run one if we can get a truck done by then.”