NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR takeaways: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch fight after All-Star Race
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR takeaways: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch fight after All-Star Race

Updated May. 22, 2024 5:02 p.m. ET

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — The talk going into the NASCAR All-Star Race was about "soft" — as in how soft tires Cup Series teams can use to put on a good race.

But the talk after Sunday night's race will include about anything but soft — a wild melee between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch that followed a dominating race victory by Joey Logano.

Punches thrown between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch after All-Star Race

Busch took out Stenhouse two laps into the race in retaliation for contact on the opening laps at North Wilkesboro Speedway. The track — a throwback to NASCAR's more grass-roots days — doesn't have a tunnel so drivers who don't finish a race have to wait until after the race to leave.


That meant Stenhouse waited for Busch and after a short conversation, threw a right hook at Busch's face. Members of both teams got involved until Busch left the area about a minute later.

Any penalties likely will be announced Tuesday. NASCAR typically lets drivers throw punches but it will determine whether any crew members get disciplined.

All the while, Logano celebrated winning $1 million.

"That was awesome. ... What an incredible [car]. It was so fast," Logano said.

Takeaways from the fight and the night:

Stenhouse Follows Through

Stenhouse indicated he was going to do something after the race. He said he would handle it, and when asked by FOX Sports how he would handle it, he said: "You can just watch afterwards."

The JTG Daugherty Racing driver felt Busch took his frustration of a tough season out on him early in the race. 

"He left the door wide open, I went through the middle, almost had him clear, the 34 [of Michael McDowell] kind of ran up the track and we all kind of touched there — nothing major," Stenhouse said. "Then Kyle tried to wreck me in [Turns] 3 and 4 and then finally did wreck me in [Turns] 1 and 2. ... He just did a poor job on the start and then was mad about it — I think that's the way his season has gone."

After the accident, Stenhouse parked his car in Busch's pit stall.

"I parked it there because I figured Kyle would do something similar," Stenhouse said.

When Busch got to his hauler after the race, Stenhouse was waiting, and Busch told Stenhouse he wrecked him first and shortly afterward, Stenhouse threw the punch.

'He doesn't run as well as he used to' - Ricky Stenhouse Jr. after fight with Kyle Busch

Busch's Pre-Fight Thoughts

Busch, as he walked to his hauler, explained why he was frustrated with Stenhouse and indicated the frustration of the season was building.

"First lap of the race, we don't even have water temp in the car yet and we're wrecking each other off of [Turn] 2," Busch said. "I am tired of getting run over by everybody. But that's what everybody does — everybody runs over everybody to pass everybody."

After they were separated, Stenhouse indicated it wasn't over.

Busch replied: "I don't [expletive] care. I suck just as bad as you."

NASCAR's Tire Experiment

NASCAR experimented with a softer tire as teams had two sets of softer tires and two sets of their regular tires. The softer tires didn't show as much fall-off as hoped (which would then require drivers to manage tires), and Logano was able to do the entire race on his two sets of red tires.

The next short track on the schedule where those tires could be used is at Loudon, New Hampshire.

"I don't know what it would be like at Loudon," Logano said. "There's a lot of falloff for a little bit and then it stays the same. What would it be like at Loudon where there has been more falloff there in the past with an older surface and all that? What would it be like there? I don't know. I can't answer that. I don't think anyone can."

Denny Hamlin finished second to Logano, while Chris Buescher was third, Kyle Larson fourth (after qualifying fifth for the Indianapolis 500) and Ryan Blaney was fifth.

"You've got to be so much faster to get around [someone]," Hamlin said. "Hat's off to the track and NASCAR and Goodyear for giving it a try, and certainly hopefully we learned something here for future short tracks.".

FINAL LAPS: Joey Logano earns the checkered flag at North Wilkesboro Speedway in NASCAR All-Star Race

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including over 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass.


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