Can’t we all just get along?
Apparently not if you’re Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski.
Although Busch has buried the hatchet with Kevin Harvick—and not in his back—and enjoys a working relationship with Martin Truex Jr., through the Toyota Racing Development technical alliance, he did not mince words when it comes to the fourth Championship 4 contender entering Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Sometimes you just don't like a guy,” Busch said during media day on Thursday. “Fact of the matter. I never ran into Matt Kenseth. I don't think Matt Kenseth ever ran into me. There is a respect factor out there on the racetrack, and you can certainly do a better job sometimes when you're around some of those guys that you may or may not necessarily like, but as once a wise man told me, I think it was Chase Elliott, I race those how they race me.”
A long-lasting rivalry
Keselowski said he hasn’t put much thought into the rivalry that for him dates back to a Roush Racing Gong Show in 2010. Fast forward to Bristol in 2010, when he made his opinion of Busch clear when he got up at driver introductions and called his fellow competitor an ass after Keselowski was wrecked the day before in the Xfinity race.
The contest between the two drivers has escalated on and off the track. As recently as September, on the Friday before the first race of the Playoffs at Chicagoland, the pair got into a Twitter war after Keselowski claimed Toyota had a decided advantage. Busch replied with crying emojis and a simple “STFU”.
“I think looking for this weekend, there's four of us up here on the stage, and for probably both of us, it's not enough to beat each other, we've got to beat everyone to win a championship,” Keselowski said. “It would be, at least from my perspective, a little bit foolish to get caught up on any one person. But I do think that both of us are fortunate to have great cars, great teams, and when you run up at the front a lot, things are going to happen when you're going fast.
“You know, I feel like where we're at in the sport right now, we're both going to be here for a long time to come…I think probably if you look across the field, everyone has had some run‑ins with each other. I think probably all four of us have probably ran into each other over the course of our careers, but that's part of the fun of the sport, as well.”
Burying the hatchet with Harvick
Of course, Busch has had his run-ins with other drivers in the past. He and Kevin Harvick haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. But as the drivers have matured and had children, they have been able to find common ground.
“That’s weird,” Busch said of the drivers’ detente. “I think it had something to do with kids a little bit. We were still mad at each other when he first had Keelan but after a few years, it got better and better. This week, actually, though, when we were doing the media stuff in New York, we were kind of like high school buddies joking around and stuff and making fun of the others.
“It was weird. You know? Kevin and I, friends? But I guess we’ve grown to respect each other and what each other has done and where we’ve been the last 10 years with one another. So, that’s just a matter of evolution or us growing up.”
Maybe there’s hope for a Keselowski and Busch yet.
“Probably not,” replied Busch. “He’s just too different.”