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Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fight After NASCAR All-Star Race

Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Busch Light Flannel Chevrolet, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #47 Kroger Health/Icy Hot Chevrolet, William Byron, driver of the #24 Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 Lenovo Chevrolet, drive during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 17, 2024 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race occurred on May 19th at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. stole the headlines.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano secured a dominant win, leading 199 of the exhibition’s 200 laps. However, an on-track altercation between Richard Childress Racing’s Busch and JTG Daugherty Racing’s Stenhouse Jr. was followed by post-race drama.

It Took Two

On Saturday, a “Pit Crew Challenge” took place setting positions for what was going to be a pair of Heat Race qualifiers. However, torrential rain showers canceled the two races. All Saturday events were scrapped, and the lineup was set for Sunday based on Pit Crew Challenge results.

Kyle Busch started in 14th with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 16th place. On Lap 1 in the opening two corners, Stenhouse Jr. shot the middle between Denny Hamlin (inside) and Busch (outside). Exiting Turn 2, Busch made contact with the outside wall forcing him to lift and lose positions. Busch tracked Stenhouse Jr. down in the following turn before finding his rear bumper the following lap in Turn 1. As a result, Stenhouse Jr. went head-on into the wall forcing race-ending damage to his Chevrolet. Busch, with slight damage to his nose, continued.

Instead of taking his car to the infield, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. parked his car in Busch’s pit stall before making his way up the RCR stand. Words were shared between he, Busch’s crew chief Randall Burnett, and Executive Vice President Andy Petree.

Initial perception of Sunday’s incident led many to believe Stenhouse Jr. had forced Busch into the wall. However, upon the review of a different camera angle (as shown above), the two ended up pinched ever so slightly by the No. 34 of Michael McDowell. Nevertheless, it did not change the course of events that were to come.

The Watch

“We passed him. He left the middle open there. You know, short race. Just trying to get all you (I) could get… I guess he was mad. I parked my car in his pit stop; I figured he would do something like that. Maybe Richard (Childress) will hold my watch after the race,” Stenhouse Jr. told FOX play-by-play commentator and pit reporter Jamie Little after his release from the infield care center. The latter comment was a shot in reference to a fight between Richard Childress and Kyle Busch following a Craftsman Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway in June of 2011. Childress was fined $150,000 after “taking off his wristwatch,” head-locking, and punching Busch.

After three years with Hendrick Motorsports and 15 years with Joe Gibbs Racing, Busch signed with Richard Childress Racing ahead of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Post-Race Fisticuffs

Stenhouse Jr. later took to the media center and further shared his displeasure. “You can just watch afterwards,” he told (FOX Sports) NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass in response to how he would handle the crash. As laps ticked away, fans wondered if he would live up to his word.

Yes, he sure did.

Many angles captured the altercation, including The Athletic reporter and “The Teardown” co-host Jordan Bianchi, who followed Kyle Busch after the race as he approached an awaiting Ricky Stenhouse Jr. A brief verbal exchange was followed by Stenhouse Jr. throwing and connecting with a right hand, sending a frenzy amongst the crowd. Busch and Stenhouse Jr. were ultimately separated.

After the physical exchange, Little followed up with Stenhouse Jr. in another interview. “I felt like Kyle and I have always raced each other really hard,” he said. “I wrecked him one time at Daytona and he’s been kind of bad-mouthing me ever since then… definitely built up frustration with how he runs his mouth all the time about myself.” He also teased a potential charity boxing match. “I would do that to raise some money… maybe for the NASCAR foundation of something,” he said. Kyle Busch declined an interview.

Penalties regarding the incident will be announced by NASCAR in the upcoming week.

The pair have shared on-track moments in the past. Busch commented they would “go to a real racetrack next week” after Stenhouse Jr.’s first NASCAR Cup Series win at Talladega Superspeedway in May of 2017. During the 2018 Spring race at Martinsville Speedway, Stenhouse Jr. bumped Busch for a lap back giving the Stage Two win to Chase Elliott. Busch was turned by Stenhouse Jr. while running 2nd and 3rd, respectively, during the 2018 summer race at Daytona International Speedway.

What Happens Next?

I, personally, do not believe anything further will happen between Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. That is, at least, for the foreseeable future.

The two will likely address the media with Busch showing more frustration than Stenhouse Jr., but I think on-track retaliation will be out of the picture. Will the two race each other with more aggression? Probably so. However, NASCAR leadership will take the appropriate steps to make sure nothing dangerous or unsportsmanlike will take happen. It is not a guarantee to prevent incident, but it can reduce the probability of furthered conflict.

Do you think a rivalry between Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will continue into the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season? Share your reaction by commenting or tweeting @LWOSMotorsport. Stay tuned here at LWOS Motorsports for NASCAR news, results, updates, and more.


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