NASCAR: Busch says Stewart ‘dumped him’ at end
By Dan Gelston
JOLIET, ILL. ó Kyle Busch hasn’t mellowed following his last-lap accident at Daytona that sent him into the wall and then the infield care center ó even as points leader Tony Stewart says all is fine between the two former teammates.
Busch claimed Stewart “dumped him” or caused him to wreck and questioned if drivers should be allowed to win if they cause an accident that lets them take the lead.
“I think NASCAR can take a step in looking at it, and if the second-place driver bumps the leader, then black-flag (him),” Busch said Thursday at Chicagoland Speedway. “He doesn’t get the win.”
At Daytona, Busch took the lead on the next-to-last lap and tried to fend off a hard-charging Stewart. He successfully blocked Stewart once, but when he tried to do it again Stewart hooked Busch’s right rear fender instead, sending Busch into the wall a few hundred yards from the finish.
Busch has no problems with a driver bumping the one ahead of him out of the way if it doesn’t cause an accident.
“I gathered my stuff up and tried to block high and it was too late,” Busch said. “Tony was already alongside.”
Stewart called the accident a part of racing and said the two often-fiery drivers were on the same page following a 30-minute conversation about the circumstances of the wreck earlier this week.
Same page? Busch came out Thursday and made it seem like he wasn’t even in the same book.
Stewart declined to address Busch’s comments and said he only was going to judge Busch’s view of the incident based on their earlier conversation. When Stewart was asked if his maneuver was considered a “dump,” he said, “I’m not biting.”
“Nobody wants what happened on the last lap to happen,” Stewart said. “Nobody wants to be in that situation because we all respect each other as drivers so much.”
Other drivers came to Stewart’s defense.
“I certainly would not say that he got dumped,” four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon said. “If Carl Edwards would have said that, I would have said the same thing. It’s not getting dumped when the guy has got a fender or bumper inside you and you turn and come across.”
Added Kasey Kahne: “It was a long way from a dump in my mind. I’d say they were both battling for the win. It’s Daytona, Talladega, those kinds of tracks you do that stuff.”
It marked the second time a crash has marred the end of a restrictor plate race this season. Edwards went flying into the catch fence at Talladega this spring while trying to block Brad Keselowski in a mad dash to the finish.
“This isn’t something that’s new to this sport,” Stewart said. “It’s more frequent because guys are getting better at the aspect of it and instead of having two cars up in a pack, now there’s 32 cars in the pack. That’s really the only variable that’s changed. It’s not the car, it’s not restrictor plates. This has been a topic forever, and it’s just part of it.”
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