Early-out Stenhouse vows to wait on Busch at North Wilkesboro

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wanted to take a page from Kyle Busch’s book by parking in the latter’s pit stall at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Stenhouse’s night in the NASCAR All-Star Race ended on lap two when Busch retaliated in Turn 2. The lap before, Stenhouse made it three-wide through the middle of Michael McDowell and Busch. There was no contact between Stenhouse and Busch, but Busch bounced off the outside wall.

“We got a really good start, and he left the door wide-open,” Stenhouse said. “I went through the middle and almost had him clear. [McDowell] kind of ran up the track and we all just kind of touched there – nothing major. And then Kyle tried to wreck me in [Turns 3 and 4], and then finally did wreck me there in [Turns 1 and 2].


“Our car was really fast; I felt really good. We were good yesterday, and I’m bummed that we had already passed two or three cars there; bummed that we couldn’t see it to the end.”

Stenhouse drove his damaged Chevrolet to pit road and parked it in Busch’s pit stall. After climbing from his car and taking off his helmet, Stenhouse climbed up the side of Busch’s pit box to tell crew chief Randall Burnett to relay a message to his driver.

“Well, first, I parked it there because I figured Kyle would do something similar, and then I just told Randall that he could tell Kyle that I’d see him afterward,” Stenhouse said. “Since there’s no tunnel here, I can’t leave, so I’ll be here when the race is over.”

When asked what he wanted to hear from Busch in their post-race meeting, Stenhouse said, “Nothing. I’ll handle it.”

How will he handle it?

“You can just watch [after the race],” he said.

The JTG Daugherty Racing driver didn’t think the incident was significant enough to warrant being wrecked. Stenhouse started 16th and was racing with McDowell for 10th place when he made it three wide.

“We barely touched,” Stenhouse said of Busch’s reaction. “I haven’t seen a replay, but the gap was [opened] and I drove through there. You could have put one and a half cars through it in the center and then [McDowell] was coming up off the bottom. It was just hard racing, I thought.

“It’s the All-Star Race — short track. You’ve got to get as much as you can early. Once this thing stretches out, you won’t pass. You’ve got to get all the cars you can early, and I felt like I did a really good job and he did a poor job on the start, and then he was mad about it. I think that’s the way his season’s gone.”

Story originally appeared on Racer