"If you ain't first you're last," are some of the more memorable words uttered by racecar driver Ricky Bobby in the movie Talladega Nights. While the legend of Ricky Bobby may be a fictional story, those words seemed to hold true for defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch on Saturday night after a second place finish at Bristol.
Busch, who remains winless on the season, chased down eventual race winner Kevin Harvick for the lead in the final laps, but was unable to make the pass. As he crossed the finish line, he screamed an expletive in frustration and apologized to his team for not winning the race.
The No. 18 was actually leading the race with 41 laps to go, however, Busch got caught up in traffic behind Joey Logano, who was not on the lead lap. That allowed Harvick to take the lead for good.
"He's nobody's friend for a reason," Busch said after the race of Logano. That was the first of multiple frustrated statements Busch made after the race.
"Some of them (expletive) kids don't know what the hell they're doing or where they're at and can't stay out of the way. Nothing like a Gase and a Smithley."
Busch was referring to Joey Gase and Garrett Smithley, who both drive for Rick Ware Racing. Those drivers typically run towards the rear of the field, multiple laps down each week. Busch drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, a team with far superior funding and equipment to that of RWR.
Again, Busch finished the race second and advanced to the Round of 12. His hopes of winning back-to-back championships are still alive, however Busch didn't express confidence in his chances of advancing after the race.
The Round of 12 will get shaking and baking next week at Busch's home track of Las Vegas, where he won back in 2009. The series will then move to Talladega, where Busch will hope to channel his inner-cougar and win for the second time there as well. The next round concludes at the Charlotte Roval, which is the only track Busch has not won at in the Cup Series.