Kyle Busch did something Saturday night at Richmond Raceway he had done 45 previous times in a NASCAR Cup Series race: Win.
But he followed it up by doing something he doesn’t recall ever doing before, or maybe only once: climbing into the grandstands.
After his traditional burnout, Busch joined the fans to celebrate his third straight victory in the Toyota Owners 400. Greeted by cheers and high fives, Busch eventually made his way to the traditional Victory Lane.
But in the media center for the winner’s news conference, team owner Joe Gibbs did not know Busch had made the extra trip. It led to a comical exchange.
Gibbs: “Did you?”
Busch: “Yeah, buddy!”
Gibbs laughed. “Oh my gosh. You should not do that. That’s a risk. I think that’s great, though. Went up there and he came back. That’s even better. They didn’t keep him.”
What promoted the grandstand visit in the first place?
“It’s a 10-year anniversary,” Busch cracked, referencing the crash between him and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (below) at the track back in 2008, which had been a topic of conversation all this week.
“I was wondering if I’d come out alive. I think it certainly was different tonight [with the fan reaction]. I saw a lot of yellow there at the front fence line. I saw a little bit of black, which was the championship jacket from our season back in ’15. Don’t worry, I was definitely eyeing it out like, who’s there, who’s there, who’s there.
“Saw a lot of 18 stuff. So, I just decided to go up there, give some guys and some kids some high fives, what’s up. Fortunately, I got back out of there. They held onto me for a second, then my brute strength ripped me out of their arms and brought me back to civilization on the racetrack.”
For the record, Gibbs took a trip to the top of the track to thank fans as well.