Few things get the juices going more in racing than on-track rivalries between drivers, and another one appears to be rising to the surface between two of NASCAR's biggest stars.
During the late stages of Saturday night's race at Darlington, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne were battling one another for the lead. After the two drivers appeared to nearly make contact, with Busch on the inside, Kahne's car drifted up into the outside wall, sustaining damage that dropped him to a finishing position of 17th.
Although neither car appeared to make contact, disruption of air to Kahne's caused it to be moved out of the racing groove. As a result, two drivers racing very hard for the lead now have fans wondering if the feud between the two drivers will escalate further.
While Busch declined comment regarding the race as he left the track, Kahne expressed dissatisfaction with how Busch raced him, something that could indicate a brewing rivalry.
"He just made another mistake," Kahne told media after the race. "That's his third one when he's been around me this year. I don't really understand it. We're battling for the lead or the top two or three spots, and where he entered and hit his brakes, he just crushed the splitter. We do it all race long. The way he did it, he hit the brakes, and you have no front end. He went straight on entry. His car's going straight; it's not even turning left. It's just a mistake on his part. I imagine he'll call me again (Sunday) and say sorry."
Consistent Effort Key In Nationwide Series
With Kyle Busch dominating the win column within the NASCAR Nationwide Series, winning five times already this season, putting together strong efforts week-to-week has become even more critical for series regulars seeking the series championship.
And it's far from coincidental that the two drivers with the most top-10 finishes this season lead the points standings with Regan Smith and Sam Hornish, Jr., each having seven top 10s through nine races. Smith has finished in the top 10 each race after starting the season with finishes of 14th and 11th. Hornish, meanwhile, has finished no worse than eighth in all but two races.
The Fans Say
So, what do the fans think of what happened this week? Well, here's a sampling, courtesy of some of our Facebook fans...
"Nobody beat Kyle. A cut tire beat Kyle."
"Happy that Junior finished ninth and not a lap down."
"No damage on the 5's quarter panel. Kyle did not touch him....just good racing! All you Kyle haters will blame him even if he does nothing. At least last week he took full responsibility and manned up. Can't say that for some of the Hendrick drivers they would just cry and whine."
Who's Up and Who's Down
Kenseth is off to the best start of a season in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in terms of wins with three victories so far.
Juan Pablo Montoya
After nearly winning two races ago at Richmond, Montoya posted a top 10 at Darlington. He has two top 10 finishes this season, matching his number of top 10s from the entire 2012 season.
Gordon was a factor through much of Saturday's race before finishing third. He has finished 11th or better in his last three races.
Saw a string of four top 10 finishes in a row come to an end over the weekend to the tune of a 20th place finish and one lap down. But the No. 43 team heads to Charlotte next, a place where it finished no worse than 16th last year and won the pole position for the Coca-Cola 600.