Rarely in NASCAR racing does the action happen off track. Sure, there is the odd wreck in the grass, or sometimes drama on pit road, but nothing quite like we saw on Sunday during the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This was the first race of a three-week stint in which NASCAR Goes West with the Monster Energy Cup Series and Xfinity Series hitting up Las Vegas, Phoenix, and then Fontana, California. And right off the bat, Vegas was controversial.
For the most part, the race was clean with the exception of some single car spins that brought about the caution flag. Most notable of these was for Kevin Harvick, who had been favored to win. Harvick blew the right front tire on Lap 69 and was sent hard into the safer barrier. The medical team seemed slow to respond thanks to on-track traffic that had yet to clear, but essentially Harvick was okay. Unfortunately, however, his No. 4 Mobil1 Ford was done for the day. Teammate Danica Patrick brought out the last caution of the day when her engine expired and put on an impressive smoke show on the front straightaway and throughout Turn One.
When the race restarted with 8 laps to go, desperation was in the air. Unfortunately, for Brad Keselowski, who had been leading the field and had shown great speed all day; his car wasn’t quite as desperate as he was. Radioing to his team that “something broke”, he began sliding back in the field, which handed the win to Martin Truex Jr. Coming to the checkered flag, Kyle Busch got hung up behind Keselowski who was noticeably slowing, and he tried to remedy his boxed-in situation by turning hard into Joey Logano who was defending his position on the inside, in his No. 2 Penzoil Ford. Logano tried to hang on but got loose in the middle of turn 4 and slid up the track into Kyle Busch. This spun Busch down pit road where he finished in the 22nd position. Logano finished 4th.
Winner Martin Truex Jr shredded his tires during his celebratory burnout and limped into Victory Lane to accept his 8th career win. Truex had won Stage 1 and 2, making him the first driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to sweep all segments. Despite gaining 60 points from this impressive triumph, Truex is 4th in the standings.
While the Truex team accepted the Kobalt wrench in Victory Lane, Kyle Busch’s temper got the better of him as he quickly and determinedly made his way down pit road toward Joey Logano to confront him about the incident on-track. Convinced that Logano had purposely ‘dumped’ him, Busch came in swinging, just missing Logano’s head. Crew members quickly intervened and the brawl was on! Logano was dragged out of the fight by a crew member as Busch and various people from Logano’s team went to the ground. After a few punches, Busch was picked up by a NASCAR Official and pulled away. Despite a noticeable goose egg and blood running down his forehead, Busch continued struggling against the officials’ grip. No word yet as to whether Busch will be penalized.
To see if the wild, wild west behaviour continues, get your tickets now to next week’s race at Phoenix Raceway. Click HERE.