Busch will race Bell harder until ‘he concedes that he’s sorry’

Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell had a much calmer conversation in the days after the Circuit of The Americas race when on-track contact resulted in a post-race confrontation. That doesn’t mean it’s all been resolved between them yet, though.

Busch marched to Bell on pit road after last weekend’s race to express his displeasure with being spun by his former teammate in the second stage. The contact that took Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota into the left rear of Busch’s Richard Childress Racing Chevy as he tried to get inside Busch in the sharp Turn 4 left-hander. Bell felt Busch had opened his entry into the corner and there was a lane.

The two spoke via phone earlier this week to come to an understanding. In the immediate aftermath, Busch did most of the talking — and finger animation — on pit road at COTA.


Busch said the phone call was “just to give more of my side than what I said on pit road (and) to have him (get) a greater understanding into my objectives and what I have going on, versus what he might think that he’s got going on,” the RCR driver said Saturday as the series shifts to Richmond Raceway. “I think he understood that. I heard his side of it and didn’t really believe much (of) it when I didn’t even give consideration to him making a move because he was four lanes back. Then all of a sudden, he was there.

“So, I knew he was back there but too far to do anything and I got hit. It is what it is.”

The two-time Cup Series champion said he’ll race Bell harder going forward. Or at least until it seems Bell has gotten the message.

“Run him harder for a little bit until he concedes that he’s sorry on the racetrack,” Busch said, “and then get back to normal.”

Busch has been on the receiving end of contact with Bell at COTA twice, although he conceded the first one two years ago wasn’t necessarily Bell’s fault. It’s particularly frustrating, Busch also admitted, to have it happen with a former teammate and Kyle Busch Motorsports alumni.

“When you’re racing against guys that have come through KBM, and you’ve helped them along the way and you feel as though they’re taking that extra 10% rather than giving a little bit out of respect,” Busch said. “But everybody’s got their own race out there, and they try to do what they got to do. But, obviously, Christopher’s in really good stuff at a really good place, and he needs to understand that.”

Bell knew the questions about Busch were coming when he faced the media Saturday. When it was the first question, Bell smiled and joked, “Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner.” But he also seemed ready to move forward and prove there would be no lingering issues between him and Busch.

“I was surprised that he called me back,” Bell said. “I called him Monday and he didn’t answer, and I thought that was going to be the end of it and I was really happy that he called me back. It was a good conversation.

“We don’t have a lot of run-ins, but the two times that we have had run-ins, he’s been on the losing side of it. I’ll just race him with respect as I always try to, and it is what it is.”

Story originally appeared on Racer