Kyle Busch has found enough trouble on his own during the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series, including one incident at Darlington that resulted in a hefty fine. During Saturday’s Truck Series playoff elimination race at Martinsville, his brother Kurt tried to get him into more trouble during the FS1 broadcast by encouraging Rowdy to fight when his top championship-contending driver John Hunter Nemechek crashed and ended his day early.
Kyle Busch Motorsports driver John Hunter Nemechek aggressive early at Martinsville
Sitting atop the NASCAR Truck Series playoff standings, John Hunter Nemechek had a single mission heading into the elimination race at Martinsville to ensure he made it to next week’s Championship 4 race in Phoenix — be cautious to avoid disaster. However, that’s a tough strategy when the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver has been aggressive all season, which has translated into a series-best five wins.
He wasn’t about to change at Martinsville and showed it early in the first stage. Battling with Sheldon Creed for the second position, the No. 4 shoved his nose inside of the No. 2 truck going into the corner, and the pair beat on each other through the corner. Moments later, the FS1 broadcast aired Nemechek’s audio.
“Still have a lot of racing to do. No need to piss anyone off this early. Just need to take care of your stuff,” the team warned him over the radio.
It was a precursor of things to come.
Kyle Busch called out by his brother to fight after Nemechek crashes
After finishing in the top 3 during the first two stages, Nemechek cycled back in the field at the stage break pit stop, and immediately began moving his way up to the front on the restart. With 70 laps to go, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver showed more aggression when he ran into the back of Austin Wayne Self multiple times, knocking him sideways going into turn 1. Coming out of turn 2, with the No. 22 loose, Nemechek dove hard to the inside down the straightaway, attempting to make the pass.
The No. 4 truck then came up the track, crossed over the white line, and the No. 22 started turning into the corner at the same time and clipped Nemechek, sending him spinning and into the outside wall. A few minutes later in the broadcast booth, Kurt Busch talked about the incident.
“It’s a typical disagreement of ‘Dude, you ran into the back of me and now you’re pulling this. I’m going to do that.’ There’s that line,” Busch said. “Do you respect a championship front runner? Or do you want to just try to take it into your own hands? Now there’s a problem. Now you’ve got crews pissed off at each other. Owners. This is on if the No. 4 truck doesn’t make the Championship 4.”
After Vince Welch detailed Nemechek’s last DNF occurring at the Bristol dirt race in March, Busch reverted to his previous remark.
“Did you see what I did there?” the 2004 Cup Series champion proudly asked. “I was trying to get Kyle Busch to go out there and fight as a team truck owner.” Michael Waltrip and Welch both laughed.
Nemechek advances to Championship 4
FS1’s Jamie Little interviewed Nemechek several minutes later, and he was unhappy about the incident.
“I don’t know. He shouldn’t be out here if he’s just going to hook someone in the right rear and turn them in the fence,” a frustrated Nemechek said. “He shouldn’t be out here and NASCAR should definitely look at that. It’s playoff contention. You got to have respect and obviously he doesn’t. It is what it is. Hopefully we make it to the final four and we’ll definitely have something for them in Phoenix.”
Nemechek helplessly watched the final laps play out over the next hour and despite finishing 39th, the KBM driver had already built up enough playoff points and advanced to the Truck Series Championship 4 in next week’s race at Phoenix. Self finished 20th.
And Kurt Busch’s wish for a beef between his younger brother and Self’s team faded away.