As the laps winded down in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Kobalt 400, it seemed as if Brad Keselowski was going to cruise to his second-straight victory in Las Vegas. But in true NASCAR fashion, the race wasn’t going to be over until the checkered flag flew.
With two laps to go in Sunday’s race, Keselowski’s lead diminished as he reported something began to break on his car. Martin Truex Jr. was able to get side-by-side with Keselowski going down the backstretch and cleared to the race lead just before the field began the last lap.
With Truex Jr. now in the lead and Keselowski dropping back, chaos began to ensue behind them. Kyle Larson was able to cleanly get by Keselowski, but the two behind him couldn’t. Kyle Busch and Joey Logano went 3-wide around Keselowski heading into Turn 3. They made contact and continued to run side-by-side through the turn until Logano got loose on the inside. The No.22 Pennzoil Ford drifted up the track and hit Busch, sending the No.18 M&M’s Toyota spinning down the track.
Logano was able to keep it going straight and crossed the finish line fourth, while Busch’s car came to a stop short of the finish line on pit road. Busch, who ended up being scored with a 22nd place finish, obviously was none too pleased with how the last lap played out.
As the cars got stopped on pit road after the cool-down lap, Busch began to walk down pit road towards the No.22. Once he got there, tempers immediately began to flare. Busch went immediately for Logano and may have landed a punch before crew members began to get involved. Guys from both the No.22 and No.18 team jumped into the fray. Logano was immediately dragged away from the skirmish by whom appeared to be his PR rep, while Busch fought on with the crew members. NASCAR officials quickly made there way over to the scene and began to break up the argument.
Busch walked away bloodied with a gash on his forehead and what appeared to be a bruised chin. He was evidently still upset, and FOX was only able to squeeze a few words out of him before he left the scene.
“I got dumped. He flat out just drove straight into the corner and wrecked me,” said Kyle after the brawl. “That’s how Joey races, he’s gonna get it.”
Logano had a slightly cooler head after the whole ordeal, and took time to share his comments before leaving the scene.
“There wasn’t much talking, there was a lot of swinging,” said Logano. “I don’t know. I was racing hard there at the end with our Pennzoil Ford. Kyle and I usually race really well together. We usually never have any issues, and he tried to pin me down into the corner underneath Brad and we crashed on entry, and then I was still trying to gather it up by the center and I was gonna spin out, so I’m trying to chase it up and he was there. It obviously wasn’t anything intentional, but obviously he thinks that, so, I don’t know, we’ll get by.”
Busch was later evaluated and released from the infield care center following the post-race fight.
Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. had a clean run to the finish and captured the victory in the Kobalt 400. The win is the eighth overall for the Trenton, NJ native in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, his first at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“We finally got some,” said Truex Jr. on finally getting lucky. “We definitely had our share of races where we’ve dominated and gave one away and it looked like today was going to be another one of those. The runs just didn’t work out the way we needed them. We were struggling on the really long runs. We had to run that last set of tires on that last caution longer than we did all race long. I was out of control and Brad (Keselowski) was really good on the long run. I hate that he had problems, he was strong and we weren’t going to do anything with him, but then he lost the brakes or something. A little bit of a gift, but we have given some away, so it feels good to come out on the good end for once.”
Larson, Chase Elliott, Logano, Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, and Clint Bowyer rounded out the rest of Sunday’s top-1o finishers.
NASCAR heads to Phoenix International Raceway next weekend, where all eyes are sure to be on the newfound rivalry amongst two of the sport’s biggest stars.