There was no harm and no foul between Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson after they roughed each other up for the victory at Chicagoland Speedway.
In fact, Larson gave Busch a thumbs-up after the checkered flag.
Larson started the fun when he dove into Turn 1 low on Busch. The No. 42 slid all the way up the track to where Busch was riding the wall, hitting Busch in the left rear. Busch tagged the wall, and Larson drove to his inside and took the lead.
But in Turn 3, it was Busch’s turn to use Larson up. Busch tagged Larson in the back bumper and sent him for a slide and spin while Busch bounced off the wall. Able to regain the top spot, Busch drove to the victory. Larson got his car going straight to cross the finish line second.
Here’s how Busch saw things when he was asked just moments later when climbing out of his car at the start/finish line:
“Larson tried to pull a slider but didn’t quite complete it, slid up into me and used me, and then I kind of used him a little bit in [Turn] 3 and was able to come back for the victory.”
Naturally, Busch was greeted by boos, and he even made a crying gesture into the camera.
“I don’t know what y’all are whining about,” he said to the grandstands. “If you don’t like that kind of racing, don’t even watch.”
Busch further broke down the last lap in his winner’s press conference.
“I thought he was going to pull a slide job. When he didn’t try to do a slider, then I wasn’t sure what his next move was going to be. I was like, surely, he’s not going to drive into the side of me. Then he did. After that point, all games are off right now; all bets are off. It’s wide open here from here on out back to the checkered flag.
“He got a run on me off Turn 2 after I got in the fence, just stalled, killed my momentum. His side draft was able to propel him by me. I tried to retaliate with a side draft. I wasn’t close enough, wasn’t really getting anywhere with it. He got by me. Getting into Turn 3, it was just about following him in there and seeing if I couldn’t cut left under him if he would slide up. He didn’t slide up. I drove off in there as far as I could, got into the back of him. Once I did that, he was kind of sliding loose, I was trying to get back to the start/finish line after that.
“It was … kind of once it’s done to you, it’s fair game, it’s on I guess. That’s kind of what transpired.”
Larson admitted his move in Turn 1 was not mean to try and get in front of Busch but to squeeze him and bog him down.
“I hit him first,” Larson said of the retaliation. “I roughed him up; he roughed me up. That’s racing.”
Larson went to victory lane to see Busch, the two talking about the finish with a smile and a handshake.
“Oh man, I’m not upset,” said Larson. “I had an opportunity there to slide in front of him, and I figured I wouldn’t clear him, or I would allow him to drive back underneath me. So, I tried to get to his door, and I opened the door for him to retaliate into [Turn] 3. I thought it was free game. I ran into him first, he got me after that, maybe a little bit worse than I got him, but that is alright. I love racing Kyle. I know all these fans are probably mad at him, but hey, we put on a hell of a show for you guys, and that was a blast.
“I had the top rolling there. I ran the right front off of it a little bit trying to run those guys down and … yeah, that has got to be one of the best NASCAR finishes of all time. I know I’m on the short end of the stick again, but you know it was fun.”