NASCAR: Edward-Busch feud adds spice to Sprint Cup
By Hank Kurz Jr.
BRISTOL, Tenn. ó NASCAR has a new rivalry: Carl Edwards vs. Kyle Busch.
Edwards called the latest installment payback and Busch promised that retribution will come down the road.
During a season in which Busch and Edwards have dominated Victory Lane celebrations, their growing feud is adding spice to the Sprint Cup series and the upcoming Chase for the championship.
Edwards won the latest battle, nudging Busch aside with 30 laps to go Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway and continuing on to his second consecutive victory and sixth overall. Making it sting all the more for Busch was that he had led the previous 415 laps.
“It was all going fine there until the end,” said Busch, who showed his frustration by retaliating after the race.
During the cooldown lap after Edwards took the checkered flag for Roush Fenway Racing, Busch drove alongside Edwards and bumped his car. Edwards responded by driving the nose of his car into the right side of Busch’s, spinning him out as the fans cheered.
Edwards defended bumping Busch during the race, saying he was merely using history as his guide.
“A real smart racer explained it to me this way after he wrecked me and I was real mad. He said, ‘I just had to look at your rear bumper and decide if you would do this to me, and you had, and so it was a real simple decision,”‘ Edwards said. “I’d do it again.”
Drivers tend to remember moments like that.
Edwards recalled a Nationwide race earlier this season when Busch “was a lot faster than me and went ahead and got to my back bumper and just smoked the back bumper of my car and sent me up the racetrack. Afterward, he said, ‘Sorry, man, my car was just faster.”‘
Busch remembered a different incident, and said Edwards’ good-guy image allows him to knock another driver out of a race, then claim he didn’t mean to do it.
“He does that and he’ll always come back and say he’s sorry,” Busch said. “He did it at Milwaukee and he’s done it a few other times. It’s just his normal fashion.”
Edwards’ victory put him 212 points behind Busch at the top of the standings and 20 back in bonus points with two regular-season races to go before the 10-race Chase begins.
Busch has eight wins for Joe Gibbs Racing. Each win is worth 10 bonus points that are used for seeding at the beginning of NASCAR’s postseason.
“We’ll go on and we’ll race him that way in the Chase if that’s the way he wants to race,” Busch said before both were summoned to the NASCAR hauler for an explanation.
No matter what was said behind closed doors, the feud can’t hurt NASCAR moving forward. Edwards’ surge has been a blessing, creating at least a two-horse race for the championship.
And perhaps a new rivalry along the lines of Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace?
“Boy, you know, I don’t know,” Edwards said. “I guess it remains to be seen. It’s like I said last week ó if there’s only one guy I have to race, that’s awesome.”