WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch, who swapped sheet metal and post-race barbs at Watkins Glen in 2011 before both drivers finished behind race winner Marcos Ambrose, renewed their rivalry on Lap 45 of Sunday’s I Love New York 355 at the 2.45-mile road course.
After winning the first 20-lap stage, Busch came to pit road twice under caution during the stage break, the second time to remedy a loose left front wheel from the first stop.
Restarting near the rear of the field on Lap 25, Busch charged through the field and finished ninth in Stage 2. But shortly after a restart on Lap 45, his No. 18 Toyota collided with Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford in the bus stop chicane, and both cars spun off the track.
Busch recovered to finish seventh. Keselowski rallied to run at the front of the field from Laps 77 through 86 but had to pit for fuel four laps from the end and finished 15th after a pit road penalty on his final stop.
Neither driver was thrilled with the outcome.
“I was going into the corner and I had the 47 (AJ Allmendinger) behind me, and when I got into the corner, the 18 was next to me,” Keselowski said. “My spotter called it, but we were already in the corner. It was too much for me to avoid. We got into each other and that hurt everybody.
“This is a track where you fight for inches, and we both are probably not willing to give in on it. Nobody is happy when you have contact. It didn’t help my day at all either, I can tell you that. I wasn’t looking to get into him and I don’t think he was looking to get into me.
“He probably had the dominant car. He didn’t need any trouble. Neither did I.”