KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Lap 155 of Sunday’s Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway might have been a watershed moment for David Reutimann.
It was an eye-opener for Kyle Busch.
Reutimann drilled Busch’s car in the left rear corner off turn two, and while Busch kept rolling, it was a mortal blow as far as Busch’s hopes of finishing well in the third of 10 Chase races.
You could see it coming, from lap 52, when Busch tapped the back of Reutimann’s Toyota and sent him spinning through turn two. From the replays, it looked as if Reutimann was late to the gas and Busch wasn’t, or Reutimann had to lift to keep the car on the bottom.
Whichever it was, Busch got into the rear and spun him out.
That set in motion the events 103 laps later.
Reutimann has had a couple of run-ins with Busch in the past few races, including at Dover (Del.) Int’l Speedway a week earlier.
Like Popeye says, “I can’t stands no more.”
Some radio cheering from crew chief Rodney Childers aside, Reutimann decided then and there that the games would stop between the two as soon as he found himself in a position to do something about it.
That was lap 155, and if you’re going to go, go large.
Reutimann came off turn two on the bottom, with Busch at the top near the wall. The No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine exited smoothly …right into the left rear tire of Busch’s car. The resulting impact rearranged the rear end machinery under Busch’s Camry, shortening the truck arms and bending the track bar.
Busch, as he is wont to do, radioed that “the car is destroyed,” and then went on. “I have a big problem with what just happened,” he continued, and called upon NASCAR to do something about it.
I got the mental image of NASCAR officials David Hoots, Mike Helton and Robin Pemberton leaning back in their chairs, twiddling their thumbs and whistling aimlessly.
In other words, it’s sort of dog-in-the-mangerish for Busch to demand action for contact on the track. It isn’t as though he has always been blameless in the contact he has on the track, and there is that pesky “have at it, boys” culture nowadays.
Kyle Busch drives hard. No question about that. And for the most part he drives hard and well. Initiating contact on the track is something all drivers do, intentionally or not, and it is part of the sport of stock-car racing.
David Reutimann has a bloodline in racing second to none, and he’s had enough of young Mr. Busch costing him positions and race cars, intentionally or not.
It is important to understand that the retaliation was not just about what happened on lap 52. It was Dover and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and other races on other days, and the build-up resulted in Busch’s Chase hopes taking a big hit.
He was third coming into Kansas. He left in seventh. Reutimann isn’t in the Chase.
The law of unintended circumstances is fully at play here, and it will be interesting to see if it goes any further.
My guess is it will be one of those “better not poke that particular hornet’s nest this week” kind of deals.
If it isn’t, and it goes on, Busch is going to have to be very careful around the No. 00. Reutimann, for his part, is going to have to do likewise if he wants to have a race car able to take the track by the end of the season.
Who says the Chase isn’t exciting? I’m getting the popcorn ready, myself.
The views expressed by NSSN columnists and readers in the opinion or community sections of this website do not necessarily reflect those of the management and staff of National Speed Sport News, Kay Publishing or Media1934 LLC.