Imagine being so good at something that somebody will pay $50,000 to see you fail. Kyle Busch can explain how it feels.
Busch in February earned his 57th career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win, a smooth victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It also meant Busch had won each of the past seven Truck Series races he had entered while competing full time in the Cup Series. Kevin Harvick, among others, was ready to see Busch race in the Truck Series against stiffer competition.
On Feb. 22, Harvick announced that he would put up a bounty of $50,000 for any full-time Cup Series driver who competes in a Truck Series race and finishes ahead of Busch. Shortly after, Gander RV & Outdoors CEO Marcus Lemonis announced that he would match Harvick’s bounty for a total of $100,000 to anybody who could beat Busch. If nobody could do it, the money would go to the Bundle of Joy Fund, the organization founded by Kyle and Samantha Busch.
MORE: Updated NASCAR 2020 schedule
Kyle Busch’s 2020 schedule originally presented four opportunities for a Cup driver to enter a Truck race and beat him, as NASCAR’s rules limit the number of Truck and Xfinity Series races full-time Cup drivers can enter. (Busch won all five Truck races he entered last season.) But the coronavirus pandemic shut down live sports in March and paused all things racing- and bounty-related.
So Tuesday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway marks not only the return of NASCAR’s Truck Series. It’s also the first chance for a Cup driver to beat Busch in a truck race, as Chase Elliott will compete in the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet. John Hunter Nemechek and Brennan Poole are a couple more Cup Series regulars in the Truck Series field Tuesday night.
Busch, who was not originally scheduled to run a Truck Series race at Charlotte, will drive his No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
And yes, this is perfect timing considering what happened six days ago, when Busch accidentally wrecked Elliott in the closing laps of a Cup race at Darlington to ruin the latter’s chances of winning.
Below is a refresher on the Busch bounty rules, which are being modified given the circumstances of COVID-19.
Kyle Busch bounty rules
- Must finish ahead of Busch in Truck race (doesn’t need to win)
- Must be a full-time Cup Series driver
- Busch can’t wreck
- If somebody beats Busch, the bounty ends
Kevin Harvick’s thoughts on drivers talking him up on the Truck Series bounty of Kyle Busch, talking to Larson about the tweet that sparked it all and whether he should have required the driver to win and not just finish ahead of Busch: pic.twitter.com/FpQakVUorx
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) February 29, 2020
Harvick on Tuesday announced that his bounty was still in place, but the money will not go to the driver who beats Busch. It instead will be donated to a coronavirus relief charity of the driver’s choice. Lemonis will handle his bounty the same way.
It’s unclear whether the offer from Halmar International, which put a separate $50,000 bounty on Busch for any full-time Truck Series driver who beats him, is still on the table.
— Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) May 26, 2020
Busch will start Tuesday night’s race 16th, and Elliott will start 26th. Elliott has not competed in a Truck Series race since 2017, but he earned a victory in one (Martinsville) of the two Truck Series races he entered that year. Elliott has two career Truck Series wins in 12 starts, with the other coming at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2013.
Busch, who will start Tuesday night’s Truck Series race less than 24 hours after winning Monday night’s Xfinity Series race, has eight wins in 13 Truck Series starts at Charlotte.
Tuesday night’s race is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.