Kyle Busch’s feud with Brad Keselowski flared Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. It led to Busch making a postrace comment he quickly regretted.
Busch, angry with Keselowski for trying to push him out of the way just before the checkered flag at the Xfinity 500, used a slur referring to people with intellectual disabilities. He made the comment in an interview recorded by NBCSports.com reporter Dustin Long.
“Well, he drills my ass coming out of (Turn) 4 for no reason. I mean, where was he going? What was he going to do? Spin me out? He was trying to do a Harvick, is what he was trying to do. For what? For second place? To do what? He wasn’t going to transfer through with that. It’s frickin' re—ed, man, it’s so stupid,” Busch said. “I don’t understand these guys.
“I should beat the s— out of him right now is what I should do, but that doesn’t do me any good, either.”
Asked by a reporter why he wouldn’t fight Keselowski, given the overall lack of respect among today’s drivers, Busch replied, “I’ve already had to pay enough fines in my lifetime. I’m sure I’ll get another one.”
Busch posted a brief Twitter apology for the slur Sunday night.
In one of my post-race interviews I used a word I should never use and I want to apologize for it.— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) November 1, 2021
It’s unknown whether NASCAR will discipline the Joe Gibbs Racing driver for using it. (UPDATE: NASCAR on Monday ordered Busch to complete sensitivity training prior to the start of the 2022 season. Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan was given a similar order last January after she called another driver a form of the slur.)
Busch held on for second place behind race winner Alex Bowman. Keselowski came home third. Busch tried to come down on Keselowski in Turn 1 after the checkered flag, only to have Keselowski run right through his left side.
“I don’t know what he was thinking. I don’t know if he’s mad at himself, mad at me. I don’t sweat that,” Keselowski told NBC.
Keselowski sent out a tweet Sunday night after learning of Busch’s comments. He didn’t address Busch directly, but he still managed to deliver a pointed message to him.
Since some people are copying me on social media with other’s comments I’ll say this in response-— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) October 31, 2021
I used to get mad when people said mean things about me and respond out of anger. Now I just feel bad for them. For their family’s sake, I have no desire to go any deeper than that.
Busch was the first driver out after the Round of 8, which concluded at Martinsville. He finished fifth in the point standings. Keselowski finished right behind Busch in sixth place.
Keselowski is finishing out his contract with Team Penske this year. He will drive for Roush Fenway Racing next season and also hold an ownership stake in the organization.
He and Busch have one more chance this season to squabble on the track, in the Championship 4 race at Phoenix on Nov. 7. Busch said Keselowski squandered any chance of getting a break from Busch with his move at the finish.
“That right there is going to make me race him differently, even though he had all the coins in the bucket the whole day, just emptied it out right there at the end,” Busch said, per NASCAR.com.