Kurt Busch explains the embracement with Tony Stewart after the race; Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch have talked after the crash at ISM Raceway
Kurt Busch on the ISM Raceway crash: “I flat out got cleaned out.”
Kurt Busch finished 4th in stage 1 at ISM Raceway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event on Sunday. Toward the end of stage two, Kurt Busch was the leader.
At the same time, Clint Bowyer suffered a flat tire and brought out the caution. Kurt Busch led the field to pit road. Unfortunately, he gassed it up at the pit road entry. He didn’t speed on pit road. But, he did pass the pace car.
Busch was set to restart the race in 9th. He was on new tires with everybody in front of him on old tires. However, passing the pace car when coming to pit road is a violation. Kurt Busch restarted at the back of the field.
With 49 laps to go, Kurt Busch elected to say out on old tires. That was a quick way of re-claiming the lost track position from the earlier penalty.
On the green, they ran three wide for the lead. Denny Hamlin nearly cleared them all on the bottom. Off the corner, he thought he was clear. Instead, Kurt Busch was hanging on his right side door.
Hamlin got loose and then chased it up the track. The #11 driver of Hamlin used the whole track to collect it hut he again, wasn’t clear. That pushed Kurt Busch into the outside wall.
They banged fenders down the back stretch and scraped the outside wall. Kurt Busch eventually turned Hamlin in front of the field. Busch, Hamlin and Elliott all suffered heavy damage.
Kurt Busch on the ISM Raceway accident
“Erik Jones was on my inside when we restarted and I just wanted to make sure I didn’t slip through the new [turns] one and two,” Kurt Busch stated after the race at ISM Raceway.
“If I could have been to somebody’s outside off two. Then, I thought we had a good shot at maintaining the lead.”
“I flat out, got cleaned out,” Busch said of the crash. “I thought it was the right decision on staying out. I’m not going to look back on it.”
“Hate it for my race team and those involved today while we were racing for the lead. I heard the 20 and 41 were up the track so I tried to clear before I got to the exit,” Hamlin stated via twitter of the ISM Raceway crash. “Unfortunately, Kurt Busch was still there and I got loose under him.”
“Me and Kurt spoke at the plane and shared a beer afterwards. Got nothing but respect for him and his guys. We will head to homestead and try to finish off strong,” Hamlin concluded.
Kurt Busch on the rule violation that got him into trouble
The penalty on pit road placed Busch in a position of desperation. Busch isn’t knocking the penalty, he was just unaware of the rule.
“If the rule earlier in the race on pit road when I’m passing the pace car is black and white… I just need to get brushed up on my rule book,” Busch stated. “But, I didn’t gain anything by doing what I did.”
“Digging from behind all day. Thanks to everyone that put their talent in that #41 car. I just didn’t get the job done to get us to Homestead.”
Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart
Kurt Busch called it a day at ISM Raceway and took it to the garage area. The championship 4 field is now set following the race at ISM Raceway. Kurt Busch will not be a part of the battle in Homestead-Miami.
The #41 driver still lacks concrete plans for 2019 and he’s currently under a 1-year contract with Stewart-Haas Racing. Busch stated earlier in the week that he had ‘nothing to announce’ and that he was ‘still working on some things’.
After climbing from the car, his car owner Tony Stewart came over. They engaged in a long embracing moment on the pit wall.
“Ah, he was just helping me out as a driver/owner,” Kurt Busch explained.
“That’s what Tony Stewart does, he’s a good individual. That knows how to pat somebody on the back. And help create clarity from the outside of what went on.”
“I only see what happens from the inside of the car,” Busch concluded.