Jerry Markland/Getty ImagesWith a sideways Kyle Busch in their rearview, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose duel to the finish.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kyle Busch sometimes gets criticized for not talking to the media following a race.
This is not one of those times.
Had Busch talked to reporters after losing Sunday's Sprint Cup
race at Watkins Glen thanks in part to an untimely oil spill and a
no-call by the governing body, nothing good would have come of it. His
lone words -- "I have nothing good to say" -- as he left the NASCAR
hauler said it all.
Had Busch said more, he may have questioned why the race wasn't called as soon as Bobby Labonte
in the No. 47 began spewing oil, apparently like one of those gushers
you see on the television series "Dallas." Had he said more, he may have
lambasted Brad Keselowski for spinning him after a mishap in the oil allowed Penske Racing driver and eventual winner Marcos Ambrose to make up a one-second gap on him.
Had he said more, he may have said something that would have drawn a fine from NASCAR and damaged his Chase hopes further.
You could argue that Busch should have gathered his composure and shared his thoughts, as most drivers did.
Marcos Ambrose gets a wild Sprint Cup win at Watkins Glen, while Carl
Edwards claims his first Nationwide Series victory of the season.
But Busch isn't like most drivers. He is passionate to a fault
and apparently needs time to let everything sink in before speaking.
We may not like that, but we have to respect it.
And before you ask, Busch was under no obligation to address the
media. Only the top-five finishers are stopped on pit road for
interviews after a race, and only the top three are taken into the media
Busch finished seventh.
In case you missed it, Busch was cruising to his second win of
the year, a victory that would have solidified him in one of the two
wild-card spots with four races before the Chase is set. But as he began
the last lap and got into Turn 1, he skidded with his tires covered in
oil from Labonte's car.
That allowed Keselowski and Ambrose to quickly close, and it led
to Keselowski getting into Busch's rear bumper to turn the No. 18 Toyota
In NASCAR's defense, the oil was not clearly visible. Series
director John Darby said spotters around the track were contacted after
Labonte started having issues and all came back with "all good." All
they saw was smoke.
"If we thought oil was on the track they would have addressed it," Darby said after the race.
Although some drivers told reporters they noticed oil on the track with two laps to go, Jimmie Johnson and several others said they didn't see it until it was too late.
ESPN broadcasters didn't notice it, either. They believed
something was wrong with Busch's car before learning it was oil on the
But there was oil and apparently plenty of it, enough that more drivers than just Busch were angry.
Among those was Jeff Gordon, who saw a top-10 finish turn into a 21st after spinning out on the last lap.
"We can't control what other people do," Gordon said. "We can
only control what we do. And today, we took back control when we got
off, and we were coming. It's just unfortunate that that gets taken away
from you because NASCAR doesn't want to end the race under yellow.
"I understand. You want to keep it entertaining and give the
winner a shot at it, but there are a lot of other things going on out
there too. I think they completely disregarded that."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. who was a victim of his own mistake and not the oil, costing him the points lead, called it "a bad deal."
"The track shouldn't have oil on it," he said. "It's a tough
deal, I guess. But it finished out with all that oil on the track. I
don't really like that. It was a bad, ugly finish at the end."
The oil had a huge impact on the Chase picture. Here's what not throwing the caution allowed:
- Ambrose to win instead of Busch, keeping Busch from his second
- Ryan Newman
11th and moved to 13th in the standings. Gordon dropped two spots to
- Newman to stay ahead of Busch, who would have been tied for
- Ambrose to go from a non-Chase factor to a wild-card contender at 17th in points.
- Johnson to take over the points lead instead of Greg Biffle,
being one point up on the five-time champion, he's one down.
But nobody was impacted more than Busch, who made what appeared
to be the move of the race on the last restart when he dove past
Keselowski and Ambrose for the lead.
So he was angry, and had good reason to be, as crew chief Dave Rogers documented.
"There was another car in the field that blew a motor, went by
us," Rogers said. "We knew he blew a motor, and instead of getting off
the racetrack like he should have, he tried to stay out there and run
the extra two laps. And when he did, he ran right through the groove.
"That was a mistake by another driver -- oil on the field -- and
the rest of us had to deal with it. Kyle was just the first one there."
Keselowski called it great racing, racing the way it should be.
And it was. You probably won't find a much more exciting final lap all
But you can understand Busch's frustration and why he had nothing
good to say, why he didn't say anything at all. He probably didn't
understand, as Keselowski said he should, that "I had to make that move"
that took him out.
"No different than the move he had to make on the restart with
his position," Keselowski told reporters. "I could have held the
position and wrecked us all, but I didn't. I showed understanding of his
situation and hopefully he'll show understanding of the situation I was
in. I think he will.
"But it was just one of those unavoidable deals where the whole
track was undriveable. Somehow we all found a way to get back around --
or some of us did. I regret that Kyle wasn't one of them."
And you can't blame him for not talking about it.