The first Bush Administration.
After watching Kevin Harvick tie him for the Cup Series lead in victories (60) among active drivers, Busch coined a new word. And it was so good that we envision fellow drivers casually dropping it into interviews of their own for years to come.
Kyle Busch is in a rut as the regular season winds down
Kyle Busch was 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after finishing 28th at Circuit of the Americas in the sixth race of the season. After that, however, he produced a run of eight top-10 results in nine races to soar to second in the standings to Chase Elliott.
The frustration since has been apparent. Busch’s average finish in the next eight races was 24.4. He posted a best of 11th at Indianapolis sandwiched between a pair of 36th places at Pocono (the disqualification) and Michigan (crash on Lap 25).
Busch slid back into the top 10 in race results with ninth place at Richmond on Sunday, but he dropped another place in the standings to ninth, barely in the running for additional playoff points NASCAR will award after the regular-season finale at Daytona in two weeks.
Kyle Busch may be wrong in assigning blame to Ross Chastain
The list of drivers who feel they’ve been wronged by Ross Chastain in the No. 1 Chevy of Trackhouse Racing is long and distinguished. Kyle Busch added his name on Sunday, though scrutiny of the replay indicates Busch might not have an open-and-shut case.
Busch, Chastain, and Ty Dillon were heading for a three-wide configuration coming off a turn on Lap 240 at Richmond Raceway with Dillon low and Chastain in the middle. Replays show Chastain came up the track slightly and bumped Busch’s No. 18 Toyota as Dillon drove by cleanly on the inside, but that’s not the entire story of how Busch went spinning, collecting Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. in the aftermath.
The replay shows Chastain strayed the track slightly before tapping Busch’s left rear quarter. However, it’s hard to argue there was malice. Rather, Chastain looked to be trying to stay clear of Dillon, who was coming up on his inside without much room. At the same time, Busch was doing his best to hold his own line but had room to the top of the track as Truex was in line behind rather than next to him.
Yes, Chastain trigged the wreck. But a little situational awareness on the part of Busch and his spotter could have kept everyone running under the green flag. With all the congestion below and behind him, Busch could have drifted to the outside coming out of the turn.
Kyle Busch: ‘We got Chastained’
The incident started by Ross Chastain and Kyle Busch brought out the caution flag, and the damage to the No. 43 Chevy ended Erik Jones’ day. Of the others involved. Martin Truex Jr. went on the finish seventh, Busch ninth, and Chastain 18th.
The fact that he finally cracked the top 10 for the first time since World Wide Technology Raceway on June 5 was of minimal consolation to Busch.
“We got Chastained this week. We were his victim this week,” Busch told NBC Sports shortly after the finish. He followed by conceding, “that didn’t hurt us too bad.”
So, there you have it. Chastain has been a thorn in the side of multiple drivers this season, including several scraps with Denny Hamlin, Busch’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Besides being a thorn, he’s now a verb. Getting clipped in the left quarter coming out of the corner will henceforth be referred to as “getting Chastained” even if the No. 1 Chevy was nowhere close to the action.
And Busch has run his streak of consecutive memorable interviews to 834.
Got a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column each Friday. Write to him at [email protected]