What a finish!
After Regan Smith's stunning victory at the Southern 500, it was Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch who attracted the most attention from media and fans.
I really hate it for Regan Smith.
Harvick and Busch essentially made Underdog's victory a sub-plot and our coverage of ‘the fight' over his victory is unfortunately justified. Two of NASCAR's top teams were involved, cars were trashed, and drivers summoned.
Without a doubt, this is the top story, following what almost became just another Southern 500.
Simply put, the finish was awesome.
In the aftermath of Regan Smith's stunning victory at Darlington Raceway, it was Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch who attracted the immediate attention from the NASCAR media.
Harvick, upset at Busch for what he deemed was an intentional wreck late in the race, tried to attack Busch on pit road following the race.
But as Harvick leaned in to punch Busch, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver hit the gas and shoved Harvick's unmanned car out of the way, sending it crashing head-first into the pit road wall.
Busch then roared into the garage and climbed from his car as angry No. 29 team members tried to get at him. The RCR crewmen pointed fingers and screamed at Busch as he ducked into the No. 18 hauler.
What happened on the track leading up to this was just competitive racing. Bowyer, Harvick and Busch going three-wide was merely hard-nosed racing.
They simply came together.
The accident was a matter of three different drivers picking three different lines and having them come together leaving the second turn. They collided on the backstretch as the lines merged and they made contact.
Harvick bounced off Busch and later Bowyer - it was unavoidable.
The same can't be said for Busch, who maliciously turned right with intent to end Harvick's day. He more-or-less succeeded and cut his own tire in the process.
Following the race, Harvick attempted to confront Busch and the latter would have none of it.
In a sport defined by the 1979 Daytona post-race brawl, Busch is being villainized because he just painted himself as a braggart, coward, and a whiner.
He has a history of unapologetically wrecking his rivals while avoiding punishment or retribution. Harvick would have none of that.
Busch apologists have argued that Kyle was merely trying to avoid NASCAR's ire - something he likely earned by wrecking Harvick in the first place.
The truth is that Busch continues to dish it out and yet is unwilling to take it.
Fans appreciate a driver that is willing to step out of the car and stand up for his actions. Harvick proved willing while Busch, not so much.
I should add that the sport is better off with fans having this perception. Kyle Busch playing the reformed good guy just wasn't cutting it. Judging by last night's Nationwide reaction, the sport needs a villain capable of antagonizing fans with a mere curt.
Busch was born for this role and he stands to make a lot of money running with it.
At the end of the day, this is "Have at it Boys" at its finest. Any talk of a points-deducting penalty is pure rubbish. Most likely, both drivers were given a failed opportunity to hash it out and warned to not do it again, alongside the obligatory "we'll be watching you" line.
The Sanctioning Body has the most to gain, with a ratings surge likely next weekend as a result of all the excitement. Suspending them won't help either. Fans are banking on a payoff with one likely coming at this month's Sprint All Star Challenge.
I for one can't wait.