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Ricky Stenhouse Faces Suspension for Punching Kyle Busch After All-Star Race
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By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
May 21, 2024

The car of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is towed away from the pit of Kyle Busch during the NASCAR All-Star auto race at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, N.C., Sunday, May 19, 2024. Stenhouse crashed after contact with Busch and stopped his damaged car at Busch's team's pit. (AP/Chuck Burton)

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NORTH WILKESBORO — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. threw a right hook at Kyle Busch, and suddenly, an otherwise boring All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway had NASCAR fans buzzing heading into next weekend’s marquee Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

Busch had wrecked Stenhouse on the second lap of the $1 million race Sunday night in a move that looked like retaliation for how Stenhouse had raced him earlier. Stenhouse drove his damaged Chevrolet to Busch’s pit stall and parked it, and with no way to get out of the track while the race was going on, stewed in street clothes for hours until Busch arrived at his hauler.

The Confrontation

That’s when Stenhouse, after a brief conversation, threw a right hook at the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet, setting off a brief melee that involved members of each driver’s crew — and Stenhouse’s father. The brawl was eventually broken up, but not before more words were exchanged from both sides and Stenhouse vowed, “I’m going to wreck you at Charlotte.”

“Bring it,” Busch replied. “I suck as bad as you,” implying that both drivers are not having great seasons.

The antics could result in a suspension for Stenhouse, the 2023 Daytona 500 champion, other crew members and possibly his father. Busch also could face a penalty if NASCAR determines that he deliberately caused the wreck.

Stenhouse’s fury was evident the moment he parked in Busch’s pit stall, then climbed the pit stand ladder and had words with members of his crew. As Stenhouse climbed down and walked away, his car had to be towed from pit road.

“I parked it there because I figured Kyle would do something similar,” Stenhouse said.

Later, during an interview with Fox Sports, Stenhouse indicated he would confront Busch after the race.

The Aftermath

And then he did.

Stenhouse, dressed in yellow shorts and a gray T-shirt, waited for Busch in the infield and confronted him face-to-face before unleashing a punch. Security jumped in and pulled Stenhouse away, falling backward over a tire, while Busch likewise wound up on the ground. Stenhouse’s father, Ricky Sr., got into the fracas and appeared to take at least one of Busch’s punches.

Stenhouse could be heard yelling “Dad!” numerous times, but he couldn’t get to his father.

“First lap of the race, we don’t even have water temp in the car yet and we’re wrecking each other,” Busch said. “I am tired of getting run over by everybody. But that’s what everybody does: everybody runs over everybody to pass everybody.”

Stenhouse clapped back at Busch: “Go back and watch the replay. I didn’t touch you. Not once.”

Stenhouse took another shot at Busch after the fight, saying he had bad-mouthed him ever since Stenhouse once wrecked him at Daytona, and then went on to say that Busch is just frustrated because “he doesn’t run as well as he used to.”

Busch, a two-time Cup Series champion, is 13th in points and has yet to win a race this season.

The All-Star Race

The All-Star Race itself lacked any drama once Kyle Larson arrived by helicopter from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the 2021 Cup Series champion had qualified fifth for his Indy 500 debut earlier in the day.

Pole sitter Joey Logano led all but one of the 200 laps to take home $1 million. It was yet another example of NASCAR’s struggles to find the right short track setup despite allowing the use of multiple variations of tires at North Wilkesboro.

“You couldn’t pass,” runner-up Denny Hamlin said. “I would lose a little bit of air there, and I would try to give my car a break and then run at (Logano) again. Hats off to the track, NASCAR and Goodyear for giving it a try. Hopefully, we learned something here for future short tracks.”

Then he smirked and added, “But at least we had an exciting fight in the end. That’s something to talk about.”

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