Kyle Busch always has high hopes for himself anytime he runs a NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champ was born and raised in Sin City, after all, so when NASCAR heads to Vegas this weekend, Busch will have the chance to do his hometown proud. It'll also be an opportunity to wash away the stench of his last Vegas outing. Because back in March, a few things happened at the 2022 Pennzoil 400 that Busch would probably like to forget.
For one, Busch crashed his primary Toyota during that Saturday's practice session. This made him unable to qualify, putting him at the back of the grid and forcing him to compete in a backup race car. Busch ended up placing fourth in the Cup Series race, which all things considered was an extremely solid finish. And, while he ultimately credited his Joe Gibbs Racing team for making the best out of a bad situation with some solid pit stops, it was his expletive-filled rant captured over his team's radio that made all the major headlines the following week.
"The same f***ing guy who backs into every f***ing win that he ever f***ing gets backs into another f***ing win," Busch said. "Bull****! F***!"
That "same f***ing guy" who Busch was talking about was none other than race winner Alex Bowman. The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports raced to his seventh Cup victory that day in Vegas, edging out his teammate Kyle Larson to see the checkered flag. Eventually, Bowman heard about Busch's tirade and, during his post-race interview, insisted there were no hard feelings between either drivers.
"I talked to Kyle Monday night, and he was just mad because he lost the race," Bowman said. "Like he wasn't mad at me. I didn't do anything to him."
"Kyle and I have always raced each other with respect. He was just mad that he lost the race, and I was the one on the other end of the rant. Obviously, Kyle's really passionate. We've seen that from him for a long time, and I was in the fire on that one, but he basically just said he was mad about losing the race and didn't mean to be so disrespectful to me."
Hearkening back to the t-shirt that he sold after Denny Hamlin called him a "hack" after the 2021 Martinsville Speedway race, Bowman once again made lemonade out of lemons following the Kyle Busch incident. With "All Luck, No Skill" on the front and "Backing Into Wins" on the back, the shirt was sold on Bowman's official shop, and in a reference to Busch's car number, 18% of the proceeds went to local animal shelters. Extending his own olive branch with an homage to Bowman's number, Busch offered some of his own merchandise for 48% off for a limited time.
"The T-shirt thing has been really funny," Bowman told NASCAR.com. "We're selling a lot of them, which is really cool to see all the fan support on that and then to be able to give back to a good cause by doing that is also really cool. I never thought we would sell thousands and thousands of T-shirts that say dumb stuff on it, but it's been pretty fun."
While Bowman's win at Vegas secured him a spot in the 2022 playoffs, his luck at the beginning of the season unfortunately didn't carry over to the postseason. Forced to miss the races at Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte Roval after suffering a concussion at Texas, Bowman was eliminated in the Round of 12.
Enjoy all things sports?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.