Kyle Busch wanted to Chase Elliott to know that he has gone through what Elliott experienced Sunday night.
Busch had a post-race conversation with Elliott after Brad Keselowski won the Coca-Cola 600. Elliott could have, and without a doubt, should have been the driver in victory lane. But he ended up finishing second after he pitted from the lead on his teammate William Byron to turn with just over two laps to the end.
“It’s just that I’ve been in that situation many times,” Busch said after winning Monday night’s Xfinity Series race. “I felt bad for him and, obviously, through everything that happened the previous week and how bad was the situation, he and I felt that there is not a heck of a lot of different ways to lose these things and disappointment — he is a heck of a lot better than I do. I certainly was not very good at disappointing races. He is doing well and I told him to keep [moving] forward and that is going to get the next one.”
Busch and Elliott have been frequent generators of traffic during the past week. Elliott was referring to Busch’s bumper on the Wednesday night at Darlington as the two were running for second (and a possible gain) at the end of the race. After Elliott turned with him when he got out of his car, Busch admitted after the race that he made a mistake, and examined the crash after the race with both Elliott and his crew chief Alan Gustafson.
On Sunday night, Elliott had a two-second lead over Keselowski when Byron caused the caution. As the clean air ruled the night — almost any driver that got the advantage it was difficult to pass — Gustafson brought Elliott to pit road for fresh tires for the final two laps.
“When you are leading the race like this, the people behind you are going to do exactly the opposite of what they do,” Elliott said Sunday night.
“That was the situation that was put in. [Gustafson] made the decision, we stuck with it, and it didn’t work.”
There was Elliott, he was out on the track that would have kept the lead. And with the benefit of hindsight, it is difficult to see that all the others were opposite. Eight cars, including Keselowski, he stayed on the track. Elliott restarted 11th. And he couldn’t get close to the head during the final two laps as Keselowski held off Jimmie Johnson for the victory and Elliott crossed the finish line in third place.
Elliott was beaten to second after the race when Johnson was disqualified because his car failed post-race inspection.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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