LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch — and the entire NASCAR Cup Series field, really — had every right to be upset Sunday afternoon in the Granite State.
Rain soaked New Hampshire Motor Speedway overnight Saturday but dissipated late Sunday morning. A once-daunting forecast reversed, fueling optimism the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 would go off as scheduled.
But six laps after pace car driver Gunner Olszewski exited the track track under a light mist, a sudden downpour blanketed the “Magic Mile.” Almost immediately, Busch, the pole sitter and leader at the time, spun out and wrecked into the wall, ending his afternoon.
Martin Truex Jr., in second place at the time, also suffered race-ending damages to his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry. JGR teammate Denny Hamlin lost control of the No. 11 but avoided serious damage.
While speaking with NBC Sports, Busch showed atypical restraint, but his frustration was obvious.
“We started under a mist, so it never should’ve went green (flag) to begin with,” Busch said. “But then it kept getting worse and worse with lap and lap. The lap before, I went into (Turn) 1, and it shoved the nose really bad. I was able to keep it under control; it wasn’t wet enough. And then next time I went down there … just backed it in.
“We’d been talking about it for two laps that it was raining. There’s no sense in saying what I wanna say. It doesn’t do you any good.”
When asked about his feelings after such an abrupt end to a day that started with so much promise, Busch added: “We’re done. We’re going home. It’s over. There’s no fixing that thing.”
Tensions between drivers and NASCAR have mounted throughout the season for a variety of reasons, including decision-making during inclement weather. Most notably, dangerous racing conditions at Circuit of the Americas on May 23 drew harsh criticism from drivers, particularly from Kevin Harvick.
During Sunday’s rain delay, nearly every driver interviewed indicated the race either should’ve started later than scheduled or been immediately halted at the first sign of precipitation. NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell seemed content with communication between corner spotters and NASCAR race officials.
When asked whether communication could improve, Busch said everything without saying anything at all.
“It’s going to get me in trouble.”