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Stenhouse punches Busch in post-race fight at NASCAR All-Star Race

In what turned out to be a rather tame first 100 laps of the 200-lap main event, the race actually got off to an eventful start as Kyle Busch tagged the outside wall on the opening lap as the field went three-wide.

Busch, who thought he had been hit by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., then knocked Stenhouse into the wall on lap 2 in retaliation. The damage was extensive and brought an early end to Stenhouse’s race.

A frustrated Stenhouse parked his wrecked car in Busch’s team’s pit stall before he walked to the infield care center.

Since North Wilkesboro does not have an infield access tunnel, Stenhouse was forced to wait out the remainder of the race and he vowed to confront Busch after the race.

He kept his word, walking up to Busch as Busch returned to his team’s hauler after the race. The two engaged in a brief heated argument before Stenhouse struck Busch with his right hand and a brawl erupted, which also collected nearby crew members and Stenhouse’s father before it was broken up.

NASCAR said it would look into the post-race fracas and any penalties would be announced next week.

“I felt Kyle and I never had any issues and I wrecked him one time at Daytona and he kind of bad mouthed me ever since then,” Stenhouse said after the incident. “I felt like we get along pretty well outside the race track. I talk to him quite a bit.

“I’m not sure why he was so mad – yeah, I shoved it three-wide, but he hit the fence, kind of came off the fence and ran into me. When I was talking to him, he kept saying that I wrecked him. It was definitely built-up frustration with how he runs his mouth all the time about myself.

“I know he’s [Busch] frustrated because he doesn’t run near as good as he used to. I understand that. We’re a single car team that’s working really hard to get better each and every weekend. Our car was really strong in practice, and I was looking forward to running to the front.

“I was excited about the rest of the night, and he ruined it.”

Stenhouse said being forced to remain in the infield the rest of the race didn’t help his frustration level.

“If there was a tunnel, I would probably be at home watching the end of that but here we are,” Stenhouse said. “I don’t have anything else for him. If he wants to do a charity match we could do that, raise some money.”

Busch, who finished 10th out of the 20 cars, left the track without comment. Stenhouse ended up 20th.

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