It was an epic battle of the current and future of our sport. NASCAR star Kyle Busch and rising young talent John Hunter Nemechek went door-to-door in the Circle City 100 at Lucas Oil Raceway for the ARCA / CRA Super Series.
The pair thrilled the crowd in the closing laps of the race and it appeared as though the 17-year-old Nemechek would be able to pull off a feat that not many have accomplished; beat Kyle Busch in a Super Late Model race. On the white flag lap Nemechek had the lead over Busch’s infamous number-51 Super Late Model until they entered turn three.
“I just knew I had to pressure him and run him hard to burn his stuff up to see if I could do it. I could see every lap that he was getting tighter and tighter, especially down in three and four,” said Busch.
“He was really parking it in the middle so I just timed it just right as soon as he set the brake to get it to reset his nose, I just cut underneath him and got alongside of him. It was a drag race from there.”
That drag race resulted in a door-banging photo finish. Busch barely bested the youngster.
“I kinda knew I won. I figured I was just a nose piece ahead of him, that was about it,” admitted Busch, who scored his ninth CRA Super Series event with the victory. “That was more work than what I will probably have to do for the rest of the weekend.”
Busch races the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series just down the road at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday and Sunday.
But for Nemechek, the disappointment on his face was balanced with a small grin when he began talking about the battle with Busch.
“It sucks to lose a race on the last lap, but if you are going to lose to Kyle Busch, its not too bad,” said Nemechek, who is the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner, Joe. “I’m pretty sure we put on one helluva race for the fans, so that was awesome. Man, that was fun.”
And in the end, Nemechek admitted to a mistake that a driver must not make against a veteran such as Busch.
“Going into three, I knew I had to run the top or he was going to stick his nose in there. So I did, but I slowed down too much to get mine to rotate. He got inside of me and pinched me up. We were dooring each other coming to the checkered flag. It was close.”
“John Hunter did a great job,” Busch said. “He has won races and has a good team behind him. His dad is working really hard for him. That’s family, and that’s love so you can’t beat that.”
But this time, Kyle Busch did. Next time, it might be a different story.
ARCA/CRA Super Series Circle City 100 Results
|2||8||John Hunter Nemechek|
|7||33||Wes Griffith, Jr|
|21||7||Paul Shafer, Jr|
|23||29||Tommy St. John|
By Bob Dillner @bobdillner – Owner, Speed51.com