Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch were battling for the seventh position in Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway, and they weren’t doing each other any favors.
On Lap 361, Busch tapped Almirola’s No. 10 Ford in Turn 3. Almirola returned the favor in the next corner, and Busch turned his No. 18 Toyota down on Almirola as the cars sped off Turn 4.
Busch and Almirola spun and cars collided behind them as they tried to avoid the wreck. The accident knocked Almirola and Jimmie Johnson out of the race and damaged the cars of Busch, Ryan Preece, Matt DiBenedetto and Kyle Larson.
“We just got together,” Almirola said. “I got inside of him (Kyle Busch) getting down in Turn 3, and he chopped me, and I got in his left-rear and moved him up a little bit and got inside of him, and then we hooked and got tangled up off of turn four.
“It’s disappointing. I had a really good Smithfield Ford Mustang and felt like we were maybe one adjustment away from being maybe a second or third-place car, so I’m proud of my guys, proud of the effort. We’ve got three more weeks, and I’m going to make it hell for him.”
Busch finished 14th but remains third in the Playoff standings, 17 points above the cut line for the Championship 4 finale.
“He ran over me, so I chopped him, and we got hooked together,” Busch said tersely after the race.
Informed of Almirola’s threat, Busch replied, “Sounds good.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!