It has been a while since NASCAR hit the front pages with on-track news. The biggest news in recent years has had to do with either drivers (like Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Tony Stewart, or Jeff Gordon) retiring or over awful happenings like Stewart’s. Other than that, the sport is in a lull. There are number of factors surrounding that fact, and we could debate those all day. But drama came back to NASCAR in a big way last Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, in a race where anyone had a realistic chance of winning.
The focus of it centers around one man: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Yes, the guy that used to date Danica Patrick, who has seen moved on from both him and racing in general. The Roush Fenway Racing driver had undoubtedly the car to beat at a track in which anyone that has a running car can win, yet that still did little to stop him from making some questionable decisions in the race that ended up wrecking at least half of the 40-car field. One of the men he took out was Kyle Busch, who with Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex, Jr, have dominated the Monster Energy Cup Series this season.
In so doing, Stenhouse has opened up a huge hornet’s nest. Busch told reporters that he didn’t get any apology from the Ford man, and that he should have been apologizing to everyone for what he did. He took things even further by saying going forward he won’t have to worry about him because he doesn’t run that far back in the pack. The implication is that Ricky only has a chance to win at restrictor plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega- just four of the 36 races on the schedule), and that he’s not a good driver.
Stenhouse now has hit back, saying that Busch needs to watch his mouth because the two will inevitably be close to one another one of these days. Whether he is a lap down, or fighting the M&Ms driver for the lead. This has all the makings to continue what has already been a summer full of talking points, with Busch wrecking Kyle Larson for a win just a couple of weeks ago. Is this good for NASCAR? It’s hard to say. But it’s getting people talking about it again, and heading into Kentucky and beyond, that can only be a good thing, right?