Richard Childress Doesn’t Sugarcoat What He Thinks About Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Driving Around Kyle Busch at Talladega

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads Kyle Busch at Talladega.

Richard Childress Racing has six NASCAR Cup Series championships to its credit. The last one came from Dale Earnhardt in 1994. This year — the first with two-time champion Kyle Busch in the stable — the team owner realizes this is as good an opportunity as he’s had since Kevin Harvick left the organization in 2014.

On Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, the NASCAR Hall of Famer was hopeful early in the Round of 12 playoff race as his driver made his way forward. Unfortunately, that progress got stymied on the last lap of the first stage when Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was running in front of the No. 8 car, ran out of fuel and dramatically slowed. The 75-year-old owner didn’t hold back in showing his displeasure with the JTG Daugherty Racing driver.

Kyle Busch follows slowing Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at end of first stage 

Kyle Busch started 25th at Talladega but dramatically improved his position during the first round of fuel-only pit stops and moved inside the top five with 18 laps to go in the first stage. Over the remaining laps in the stage, the veteran driver stayed up in the front of the pack and raced alongside Austin Cindric and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was alternating lanes and blocking, as is customary on the 2.66-mile superspeedway. 

On the final lap, the 38-year-old RCR driver rode in the outside lane, pushing the No. 47, which he had done for numerous laps. However, going down the backstretch, the JTG Daugherty car unexpectedly pulled further to the outside, close to the wall, where it dramatically slowed because it had run out of fuel. 

Unaware of why Stenhouse was slowing, Busch continued pushing, but eventually decided to pass when he was clipped on the left front by a passing Ross Chastain. The No. 1 Trackhouse car got sideways, took a hit from Christopher Bell, who had been trailing him, and then slid up into the wall.  

The No. 8 made it through the chaos with minimal damage and closed out the stage in 16th place. Stenhouse finished 17th. 

Richard Childress not happy with Stenhouse Jr. 

Richard Childress watched it all. Moments after it happened, he talked with Busch’s spotter, Derek Kneeland, about issues they were having with the team radio when he brought up the incident. 

“I hear them great up here. We got to get you a new radio,” Childress said. “I hear you good. I hear them good, which I’m high up here like you are. How about that damn 47 was going to wreck, no damn doubt about it. F*****!”

“He was out of gas,” Kneeland informed the owner. “Yep. He was out of fuel.”

“His blocking, I knew it wasn’t going to be long, though,” Childress responded. “Anyway.”

Despite those fuel issues, Stenhouse rebounded in the second stage and was again up front. However, when the checkered flag fell at race’s end, he had fallen back in the pack and finished 22nd. Busch placed 25th and is well below the playoff cutline and, unless the No. 8 wins on the Charlotte Roval, Childress will have to wait yet another year for that elusive seventh title.

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