There is officially a bounty on Kyle Busch.
It started as an idea last weekend on social media. Kevin Harvick threw it down on Twitter that any full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver who enters a Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race and beats Busch would get $50,000. The pot was quickly raised to $100,000 when Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of the entitlement sponsor for the Truck Series, said he would match Harvick.
The bounty came about after Busch won the Truck Series race at Las Vegas and the complaints started to roll in, including an insinuation by Kyle Larson that the Cup Series champion was cherry-picking race wins.
Busch has four more Truck Series races scheduled: Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 14), Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 20), Texas Motor Speedway (March 27), and Kansas Speedway (May 30).
Atlanta is where the bounty comes into play with Chase Elliott first up.
Announced late Thursday, the Georgia native will compete in the March 14 event with GMS Racing. Elliott will drive the No. 24 Chevrolet.
“Once the word got out about the challenge, we were able to put this together with Mike Beam at GMS in just a couple of days,” said Elliott. “Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks, so I’m really looking forward to getting back into a GMS truck there with Hooters on the truck and make a run for a win.”
But if Elliott doesn’t get the job done in Atlanta and the bounty moves to Homestead, then Kyle Larson will take a shot with the GMS team. And then Elliott will be back in the truck a few weeks later in Kansas.
“When I heard about the $100,000 bounty I wanted in,” said Larson. “I’m thankful for GMS and Chevy giving me this opportunity. Homestead is one of my favorite tracks, so looking forward to the challenge.”
Busch won the Atlanta Truck Series race last year. He was not entered in the events at Kansas, Texas, or Homestead.
“It’s all good,” said Busch of Elliott and Larson chasing the bounty. “I think it’s going to be interesting, exciting, whatever you want to term it. I guess Cup drivers in [the] Truck Series do sell tickets, so take that for what it’s worth. I think it’s a unique opportunity for more attention on the series, which is good.
“Once Harvick kind of put the idea out there, I was like, the guy that’s really, really, really going to have a shot is Larson at Homestead. So, bring it on.”
If Busch is successful in keeping Elliott and Larson, or any other Cup Series driver that comes along, from capturing the bounty, Harvick said he would donate his $50,000 to the Bundle of Joy Foundation. The foundation was started by Busch and his wife Samantha to help couples with fertility treatments.