31 March 2014
Keselowski rages at former team mate Busch
It's a miracle Kurt Busch won Sunday's Cup race, after the early stages saw him embroiled in a fierce on-track feud with former team mate Brad Keselowski.
If Brad Keselowski had been able to have any say in the matter, Kurt Busch would probably have ended up in the wall at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday rather than in victory lane.
That's because of an accident that took place under the pre-arranged competition caution on lap 40, which started when Keselowski made contact with Kasey Kahne as everyone streamed into the crowded pit lane area, but was then escalated by the arrival on the scene of Kurt Busch.
"I started to check up and I just barely got in the back of him," explained Keselowski of the initial minor contact with Kahne. "And Kurt just accelerated and drove through us, absolutely drove through us.
"The replay shows it. We jumbled up on pit road and he just drove right through me and ruined our day. We probably had a race-winning car and it doesn't matter - that's the way it goes," Keselowski continued. "I tell you what, I'm about tired of his recklessness. Kurt tore the whole suspension off the car, so it won't turn, it won't do anything."
Busch for his part thought it had simply been one of those unfortunate things that happens in the tick of things.
"I can't believe he overreacted and he's as upset as he is," said Busch afterwards. "The #5 car was trying to pull into his box, Brad ran into the back of him, I steered right to go around Brad and then he clobbers our left‑side door, and it's like, 'Okay, accidents happen on pit road.' It's congested. It's not a place to race, because of all the pit crew guys down there and I didn't think much of it."
It took the Penske mechanics 31 laps to get the #2 back into some sort of working order - although it certainly didn't look pretty, stripped of much of its bodywork at the front. But Keselowski didn't care about looks, he just wanted to get back out on track and remonstrate with Busch.
He did everything he could to unsettle Busch - banging into the back so that it dislodged the rear bumper of the #41, rubbing down the side, getting in front and holding Busch up, and finally settling for driving alongside with one hand on the wheel while using the other out of the driver-side window to gesture toward his former 2010-2011 Penske team mate.
"He does awesome things for charity and he's probably the most talented race car driver, but he's also one of the dumbest, so put those three together," said Keselowski. "Aggressive is good, but lap 50 wrecking somebody? If you're gonna be aggressive wreck yourself, don't wreck me. I'll remember that when it's lap 50 and he needs a break and he'll find his ass turned around in the wall just like he tore my car up. That stuff will come around."
While it remains to be seen whether or not the row will become an ongoing feud between the two, Keselowski was sounding cooler later in the evening when he posted on Twitter that "I'm over it and moved on already."
As for Busch, he was thoroughly distracted after the race by having just won - his first victory for new team Stewart-Haas Racing and at the same time breaking a 83-race winless streak, all of which rather made everything else look like small stuff by comparison. The prospect of any post-race fistfights breaking out between the #2 and the #41 camps was comprehensively put to one side as Busch and his crew headed straight to victory lane to celebrate.
"We won, we're not worried about any of that nonsense right now," he said afterwards. "We are a winner. We're not guaranteed in the Chase but we have a win and we're moving forward."
That's not to say that all was forgotten, however - let alone forgiven - with Busch still angry over Keselowski's subsequent attempts at retribution that could have cost him the day's win.
"You know accidents happen on pit road and then he dragged it out on the race track wanting to start some nonsense. There is no need for that. Brad and I we have always been good before, but it's battle time now," he warned.
"He targeted us, he was aiming for us. He tried to flatten all four of my tyres. That's a no‑fly zone. That's a punk‑ass move and he will get what he gets back when I decide to give it back," he said. "If we'd got a flat tyre at that moment, we would have gone a couple laps down because it was a green-flag condition, and there would have been hell to pay."
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