Another disappointing day for Kyle Busch at Kansas

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Some tracks fit well for certain drivers. Conversely, some tracks do not fit well. For Kyle Busch, Kansas Speedway is definitely in the latter category.

Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas was a critical one for Busch going in, as he had struggled mightily at the 1.5-mile oval throughout his Sprint Cup career. Unfortunately for him, he encountered calamity once again in the Heartland, crashing out of the race late.

Before Sunday, Busch was in third place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at 12 points behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. But now, as NASCAR heads for home ground next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Rowdy One sits fifth in the standings at 35 points back of Kenseth.

“We’ll just have to work hard,” Busch said about his title hopes from here on in. “We’ll just have to keep doing what we’ve done and getting us to this point all year long and that’s been consistency.

“And every other track except Kansas seems to be able to bode well for us, so we’ll see what happens and if it doesn’t happen — then it doesn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to be.”

Like Kenseth, Busch struggled mightily with both track conditions and Goodyear’s zone tire on Sunday. Prior to wrecking out, Busch had been involved in two other incidents; he was able to dodge a spinning Danica Patrick on the opening lap and was then spun out himself by Juan Pablo Montoya on Lap 186.

He came out of both of those matters unscathed, but on Lap 199, contact with Carl Edwards sent Busch into the Turn 2 wall. Unable to continue, Busch was forced to swallow a 34th-place result.

Now, Busch will likely have to be perfect – forget about being close to it- over the final six Chase races to have a chance at winning the Cup.

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
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The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

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