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Ricky Stenhouse Jr vows not to retaliate, wreck Kyle Busch at Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte

Updated:2024-06-18 11:18    Views:71

FILE - Driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. looks on prior to a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Darlington, S.C. Stenhouse Jr. was fined $75,000 by NASCAR on Wednesday, May 22, for fighting with Kyle Busch after the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley, File)

By STEVE REED AP Sports Writer

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has cooled off and no longer plans to wreck Kyle Busch at the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

But that doesn’t mean he and Busch are back on speaking terms.

Stenhouse said he spoke to Busch’s team owner Richard Childress — who had threatened to go after Stenhouse himself if he retaliated against his driver in NASCAR’s longest race of the season — and said they are fine.

Stenhouse threw a punch at Busch that started a melee following Sunday night’s All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway after he felt Busch wrecked him on purpose on the second lap of the $1 million exhibition race.

“It was the heat of moment,” Stenhouse said Saturday about punching Busch, which resulted in a record $75,000 fine from NASCAR. “You never want to wreck anybody on purpose, especially somewhere like Charlotte.”

Several drivers have said the fine was excessive, including Chase Elliott.

Stenhouse said he had a “ton of respect” for what Busch has accomplished during his career, but added he’s now lost some of it “for wrecking us on purpose, especially in that moment. (But) I’m not going to waste my time trying to get him back.”

Busch said the two drivers haven’t spoken since the fight, and his focus is on winning.

“I don’t need to a fight with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., I need a fight with the top three guys so I can start winning some races,” said Busch, who has yet to win a Cup points race.

Busch defended his actions on the track, saying he did nothing wrong.

Asked if he thinks Stenhouse will wreck him, Busch replied, “I don’t think he will.”

LARSON SET TO GO FOR THE INDY 500-COCA-COLA 600 DOUBLE

Kyle Larson will be attempting to complete the Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 double.

The potential for rain in Indianapolis on Sunday could throw a damper in his efforts to get back to Charlotte Motor Speedway if that race gets delayed.

Larson is trying to become the fifth to race in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

He qualified fifth for the 500, which starts at around 12:45 p.m. Eastern. The plan is to complete the showcase in Arrow McLaren’s No. 17 car and then be flown to Charlotte, North Carolina for his more familiar No. 5 Chevrolet for NASCAR’s longest race set to start at 6 p.m.

Larson qualified 10th for the Coca-Cola 600.

Last week NASCAR made accommodations for Larson by moving the start of the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway back 16 minutes to ensue he would get to the track.

GIBBS GRABS FIRST POLE

Ty Gibbs is getting this qualifying thing down.

Gibbs, driver of the No. 54 Toyota, won his first career Cup Series pole on Saturday, one day after winning the pole for the Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It was an easy clean lap and my car was handling really well,” said the 21-year-old Gibbs, who grew up about 15 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “But the biggest thing for me is winning the race.”

BUESCHER’S BAD LUCK CONTINUES

Chris Buescher has endured a tough run of bad luck in recent weeks, losing two close Cup points races.

The bad breaks continued on Saturday for the driver of the No. 17 Ford, who wrecked in practice after a tire went down, causing him to move to a backup car and start at the rear of the field for the 400-lap race.

“This is going to make for a really long night for our group and be a really big challenge,” Buescher said of his crew. “But I know they will be able get a really fast racecar put together and on the track. But it’s quite a shame to have that kind of speed. … Maybe we got things out of the way today so that we can have a smooth day tomorrow.”

REDDICK’S CREW CHIEF EJECTED

Buescher will be joined at the back of the field by Tyler Reddick.

Reddick’s team was found to have made an unapproved adjustment on the underwing of the No. 45 Toyota after going through tech, resulting in car chief Michael Hobson being ejected from the race.

JJ Yeley’s No. 44 car failed pre-race tech three times and was not allowed to post a qualifying lap.

HONORING THE KING

Charlotte Motor Speedway paid homage to racing legend Richard Petty and his family by unveiling a six-foot, 1,000-pound, fiberglass and concrete hat honoring seven-time Cup Series champion and his family’s 75th year in the sport The ‘King’s Hat’s replicates Petty’s Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hat and features classic moments from the Petty family’s storied history at America’s Home for Racing.

“It is a big deal for us because four generations have won a race at this track,” Petty said. “We are thankful for Charlotte Motor Speedway because it is close, and the fans represent the Petty family. When I look at the pictures of my dad when he was a young man and me as a young man, it reminds us that we have been so fortunate to keep the Petty family together and involved in racing.”

Petty made his CMS debut in the track’s inaugural race in 1960 and went on to win the race in 1975 and 1977.

TRUMP AT THE TRACK

Former President Donald Trump will be attending the Coca-Cola 600, race officials confirmed. It will mark the first time that a president or former president has attended a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

___

AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing



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