After running into a lap car, Kyle Busch said drivers who haven’t won late model races are in the top echelon of motorsports; Smithley defends himself
Garrett Smithely was well off the pace at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He’s in the underfunded No. 52 machine for Rick Ware Racing so that’s understandable.
Late in the race, Kyle Busch was on his way to the front. He moved to the high side of the race track. He was running the wall and after being multiple laps down for the majority of the race, he was coming to the front.
The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team communicated with the spotter for the No. 52. They were informed that Smithley would go high.
Kyle Busch went to the middle, so did Smithley. Kyle Busch jumped on the brakes. He slid into the rear bumper of Smithley and collected heavy splitter damage.
Kyle Busch climbed from two laps down to inside the top 10. With 15 laps remaining, the car was junked and he went backwards. Busch finished 19th.
After the race, Kyle Busch was frustrated…
“I was told he was going to go high,” Kyle Busch told NBC Sports of the incident with the lap car.
“We’re in the top echelon of motorsports and we got guys that never won late model races running out here on the race track.”
Smithley has run 11 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in the past two seasons. He best run came two weeks ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finishing 28th.
“It’s pathetic. They don’t know where to go.”
“It’s pathetic to have to lean on insurance. My premiums are gonna go up.”
Garrett Smithley responds to Kyle Busch
Yesterday, Smithley took to social media to respond to these comments.
“Hey everyone, I figured given the events of the race Sunday I would quickly tell my story and defend myself (and the sport for that matter). Starting tomorrow, we’re focused on Richmond!”
“I didn’t grow up in a racing family, and we certainly didn’t have the funds to race. The only race car my parents ever bought was a used Bandolaro race car when I was 15.”
“I didn’t think I had a chance starting that late. We won enough that a local golf cart shop owner sponsored me and bought me a Legends car. I raced Legends cars in the southeast and won more races & championships.
“When I decided to move to Charlotte to pursue a career as a professional driver there is no doubt I had to basically give up the chance to win races in order to ‘fund’ getting the opportunity to race.”
“You see, I am one of only a handful of drivers that actually has never spent any of my own money to race. So spending money to go win in a late model was never an option, because the only way I can afford to race is if someone else pays for it. Companies & sponsors have a hard time justifying money to run a competitive late model or even truck, when for the same or often much less they can sponsor a NXS or Cup car.”
“The truth is for many of these companies, they know unless they spend the money it takes to sponsor someone like Kyle, they more than likely will not get the marketing value to justify that spend.”
“However, they can justify a spend to be involved in the ‘big show’ to entertain guest(s), etc., for much, much less. The sponsors you see on my cars, Victory Lane Quick Oil Change, Trophy Tractor, FAME … they are real companies supporting NASCAR, and seeing the value of its 65+ million fans. I sell my own sponsorship to afford me the opportunity to do this.”
Garrett Smithley discusses the incident with Kyle Busch
“So about last night …”
“1. I am not mad at Kyle and I get his frustration. I wish that situation would’ve turned out differently but what happened happened.”
“2. Nobody that is considered ‘in the way’ wants to be. We are simply doing the best we can.”
“3. Even though sometimes we ALL feel like this ‘sucks’ so bad or why won’t NASCAR ‘fix’ it, we have to remember, it’s not that easy. NASCAR is making positive changes but this is a multi-billion-dollar industry. It all takes time.”
“4. I do think I can be competitive in the right equipment and I will even go a step further and say, with time and equal funding my teams with Rick Ware Racing, Johnny Davis Motorsports can be competitive too.”
“5. As my friend Ross would say, ‘The Sun will come up in the morning!”
“Thanks for all the support – Garrett.”
Reaction to the tweet
Rick Ware (Team Owner): “I think there was a TON of frustration out there last night. Racing is very hard at ALL levels.”
“Here’s the quick take away from where I sit and sweat blood to be in NASCAR.. Kyle Busch is one of the greats AND Garrett Smithley absolutely deserves to be there as well,” Ware concluded.
Marcus Lemonis: “Would love to sit down and discuss because the first Half about companies and sponsors isn’t exactly right. Appreciate your hard work to get there but let’s get the business of sponsors cleared up.”