Kyle Busch has a 'bro hug' for Nationwide rookie Ryan Blaney after Texas NASCAR race

John Harrelson

Before he even removed his helmet, Kyle Busch walked purposefully toward Ryan Blaney's No. 22 car to have a word with the rookie Nationwide Series driver in the seconds after Saturday night's race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Blaney, still climbing out of his car on pit road, turned his head just in time to see Busch coming at him.

Was this going to be a confrontation between the young Blaney and veteran Busch? Was Busch about to get in Blaney's ear about something he did wrong during the race?


Busch extended his hand and pulled Blaney into a half hug – we'll call it a "bro hug" here – and said a few words of congratulations through his helmet while patting Blaney on the back.

It was a brief moment, but a meaningful one after Busch finished third and Blaney got a career-best second-place result.

"I've been a fan of Kyle for a very long time, and he's definitely one of the people I look up to," said Blaney, an 18-year-old making just his 12th Nationwide start. "It's very special as a rookie and as a young kid when you see your idols coming up and congratulating you. That was very cool."

Busch, the Nationwide Series' all-time winner, said he simply wanted to tell Blaney he did a great job and earned respect.

"He's really shown what he can do and he's done a good job being clean while doing it," Busch said. "He's got a lot of respect for everybody out there, and he can finish top two, three, four, five, week-in and week-out – and he does it without making a big deal out of it.

"He's got the maturity to race hard, race clean and get up front."

In the post-race press conference – where the two drivers sat next to each other – Blaney turned to the older driver and suggested they should "kind of make it a thing" in the future.

"He wants more bro hugs," Busch said with a chuckle.

"Yeah, I do," Blaney said, smiling. "From Kyle Busch."

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