Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson provide a memorable NASCAR finish at Chicagoland Speedway
JOLIET – Ideally, this isn’t the way to do it.
If things had gone perfectly, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson would have been racing side-by-side, using their skills at maneuvering their machines to produce a photo finish.
Superspeedways, like the one in Joliet, can produce that kinda finish, and do pretty often. But Chicagoland Speedway looked more like Bristol or Martinsville in the final lap of NASCAR’s Monster Energy Series race on Sunday.
Both the driver of the No. 18 and 32 cars bumped and pushed their way in and out of the lead in the final mile of the race. Larson was the one to first create contact, but it was Busch who would finish it off, pushing his competitor aside to pick up his first win in Joliet.
“Was it an aggressive move? Absolutely. Was Larson’s an aggressive move? Could he have rolled out of the throttle a tick sooner and not hit me into the wall in (Turn) 2? Absolutely,” said Busch of the physical drama of his fifth win over the Monster Energy Series season.
But that didn’t happen.
In the final lap, Busch had the lead with Larson charging on the bottom of the track, and when the No. 42 went up the track, he hit the No. 18 on the side and caused the car to brush the wall. Not long after, Larson passed Busch on the inside and grabbed the lead, but the battle wasn’t done.
Busch closed quickly and bumped Larson in the back, sending him sliding toward the bottom of the track while the No. 18 went up towards the wall. Despite smacking the barrier, Busch kept the car online and brought it home for the win while Larson, who managed to keep the car on the track and not spin, finished 2nd.
“It goes both ways sometimes,” said Busch of the victory.
Yet there was not anger from Larson at the end. He gave a thumb’s up to Busch as he passed him after the race and justified the move in the news conference after.
“I hit him first,” said Larson. “I roughed him up, and he roughed me up. That’s racing.”
But this finish was like no other for the series at the Chicagoland Speedway. While more physical than finesse, it will got down as one of the best finishes ever at the Joliet racing venue.