As Saturday’s NASCAR All-Star race was coming to an end, it seemed as though a Joe Gibbs Racing driver would get the win and the $1 million dollar prize. Teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin lined up side by side in the final segment of the race and a 10-lap shootout was the only thing that stood in their way of getting the win.
However, Busch wrecked after Hamlin took on a defensive driving technique which allowed Kurt Busch to speed by both drivers and get his first career All-Star victory. The younger Busch was so irate about his wreck and he even threatened to kill his JGR teammate following the race.
“Somebody better keep me away from Denny Hamlin,” Kyle Busch shouted. “I swear to God, I am going to kill [him]. All his … fault. I had this race won! It was won!”
Jimmie Johnson seemed to be in control of the entire race until the JGR drivers took over. Hamlin and Kyle Busch were racing one another in the final segment of the race when Hamlin tried to block an attempt by Kyle Busch to keep him from passing. The move pinched Busch against the wall and sent him sliding back into the field. He eventually bounced into Kasey Kahne which ended the race for him.
After the race, Kyle Busch drove his car over to Hamlin’s team hauler, instead of his own, and jumped out of his car with his helmet and safety devices still on. Busch walked right into Hamlin’s truck with team owner Gibbs not far behind. Hamlin was escorted into the truck by several team members and the door then closed. Gibbs moderated a team meeting and Busch came out still irate, while Hamlin came out smiling.
“That’s Kyle in the moment,” he said of Busch’s radio threat. “I told him my job as the leader is to do everything I can to win that race. And this race in specific is a much different beast than what a points race is. I think he understands that now, from my standpoint, that we’re going to drive each other different. No doubt about it.”
The tragic tirade that took place seemed to overshadow a great win by Kurt Busch. Driving and making bold moves was Busch’s plan and it paid off on Saturday.
“My game plan was to make big, bold moves,” Kurt Busch said. “I had Jimmie Johnson in the middle of the racetrack. I was digging underneath him. I saw some paint and sparks fly off Turn 2 when Kyle brushed the fence with Hamlin. I don’t know what happened there, but it hurt both their momentum.
“Big bold moves is what I was going to go for. It paid off.”