Kyle Busch tried to pass William Byron for second place early on in Sunday’s Go Bowling at the Glen. Busch, spun his No. 18 Toyota as a result of trying to make a move into Turn 1. He’d luckily not lose a whole lot of ground as he kept the engine running and was able to maneuver his way back through the field.
But, by the closing laps of the first stage, Busch caught back up to Byron. For whatever reason, Busch thought Byron was to blame for him spinning a few laps earlier. So, Busch purposely pushed Byron through the grass in the bus stop in Lap 18. Byron, continued on as he only lost a couple of spots and would finish fifth in the first stage.
Busch, came home fourth.
Byron, received direction from crew chief Chad Knaus to run into the back of Busch to send a message. Byron, unfortunately did too hard and damaged the front end of his No. 24 Chevrolet. It was a mistake, especially for a driver with a very fast race car and in the midst of a playoff push.
It could have ended his day as he finished 21st. The heat of the moment got to them. But, it got the stamp of approval from the bossman Rick Hendrick.
“I didn’t know that until someone told me that coming in here,” Hendrick said of Byron being told by Knaus to wreck Busch. “You know, I think it goes down — like back to what I said. I think if you let guys push you around and you let them know that you’re not going to let that happen — and I think he got the worst end of the deal when Kyle brake-checked him and knocked the front end out of the car. But sometimes in the heat of the battle you want to do things, and if you thought about it a little bit more maybe you’d just settle down and go finish the race. But in the heat of battle — and I didn’t know Chad told him to, but if I’d had a radio I’d probably tell him the same thing.
“I think you have to stand your ground in this sport. If you let people push you around, they’re going to push you around. He’s running up front, so I think this was his eighth front-row start, and he’s learning. People don’t cut him any slack because he’s a rookie, then he needs to let them know he’ll come back. I think probably in hindsight he would not not messed with Kyle and would have had a chance to have a really good finish with a good car.”