The animosity between Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski runs deep, and Busch indicated again Thursday that he believes Keselowski is responsible for the numerous run-ins the two have had over the years.
Busch and Keselowski, along with Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., are the four drivers who’ve qualified for Monster Energy Cup Series playoff championship final Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The four participants took part in a news conference Thursday where Busch and Keselowski were asked about their checkered history.
“Sometimes you just don’t like a guy,” Busch said. “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 race track 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.
“As once a wise man told me, I think it was Chase Elliott, I race those how they race me.”
The notable clashes between Busch and Keselowski -- on and off the track -- include:
- Busch spinning following contact with Keselowski on the final lap during the 2012 Cup race at Watkins Glen International; at the time Busch was leading.
- Busch returned the favor a year later, when he crashed Keselowski in an Xfinity Series race at Kansas.
- In August, Keselowski and Busch collided during the Cup race at Watkins Glen. Immediately after the incident, Busch ranted to his team about Keselowski, “You all better keep me away from that (expletive) after this race,” Busch radioed to his team. “I will kill that (expletive).”
- Keselowski and Busch also traded barbs in September two days prior to the opening playoff race at Chicagoland Speedway. Keselowski, a Ford-powered driver, hinted that Busch’s Toyota-supported team may have had an unfair performance advantage. Busch responded by calling Keselowski an “idiot” and then brought their history, saying he hadn’t forgotten the times Keselowski had wrecked him.
Keselowski has made multiple attempts to bridge his differences with Busch, including a blog post on his website where he expressed admiration for Busch, who at the time was sidelined with serious leg injuries. Busch, who like Keselowski is a former Cup champion, was nonplussed with the post and the relationship between the two did not change for the better.
On Thursday, Keselowski was diplomatic about he and Busch raced one another.
“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,” Keselowski said. “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.
“If you looked across the field, every one has had some run-ins with each other. Probably all four of us have probably run into each other through the course of our careers. That’s part of the fun of the sport as well.”