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Busch Brothers’ Battle Revives Memories of Bodine Bash in Inaugural Brickyard

Kurt Busch planned to hitch a ride home on his brother Kyle Busch’s plane after the Quaker State 400 on Saturday night, July 13 at Kentucky Speedway.

Those plans changed after the two brothers duked it out for the victory in overtime in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, trading paint and rubbing sheet metal. Kurt prevailed by .076 of a second in his No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet in one of the most exciting finishes of the season.

“I was supposed to fly home with him, and now I'm looking for a plane ride. So that’s Kyle,” Kurt Busch said. “He won't even wait. We shared a plane ride earlier this year. I think it was Phoenix where he won, and I had to sit there and wait for him to do his little Victory Lane thing. It'll be fine. We're going over to his house tomorrow actually for a little get-together on a Sunday off, and I'm going to plop the trophy down right on his kitchen counter.”

The intense duel between the Busch boys revived memories of another memorable fraternal fracas, this time in the inaugural Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line in 1994 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But there wasn’t much brotherly love between Geoff and Brett Bodine for quite some time before or after that conflict.

One of the most surreal scenarios in Brickyard history unfolded during the historic inaugural NASCAR race at the Brickyard on Aug. 6, 1994, as a simmering family feud between the Bodine brothers erupted on the famous 2.5-mile oval and in the media after they collided with each other twice during the race.

Geoff and younger brother Brett Bodine battled for the lead on Lap 100 of the 160-lap race, with contact between the brothers in Turn 3 that helped Geoff take the lead. But Brett exacted revenge in the next corner, hitting his brother into a spin that also collected Dale Jarrett and eliminated Geoff Bodine and Jarrett from the race.

Brett Bodine went on to finish second in the race, just .53 of a second behind winner Jeff Gordon. But the biggest topic of conversation about Brett Bodine after the race wasn’t his outstanding result – it was about the animosity between the Bodines.

“He spun me out,” Geoff Bodine said of his brother. “We've been having family problems, and he took it out on the racetrack. I never expected him to do that. He’s my brother, and I still love him, but he spun me out.”

Brett Bodine insisted he didn’t intend to wreck his brother but did confirm their feud and family problems after the race.

“It doesn't surprise me, coming from him,” Brett said of his brother’s remarks. “Unfortunately, that's the way he is. He has to blame it on something.

“He and I haven't spoken in a couple of months. It's more or less his decision, and I'll leave it that way. We’re going to Watkins Glen next week, and I’m sure if the two of us don't get together, Mom will get us together and slap our hands.”

The tone was a bit different last Saturday night at Kentucky, at least from Kurt Busch’s side. Winning, after all, is the balm the cures any ills.

“What a battle with my little brother, to race him side by side, to try to play the chess game at 180 miles an hour on the side draft,” Kurt Busch said. “We're wide open through Turns 1 and 2, and we were trying to go wide open through 3 and 4, and it was a matter of me just staying as close as I could to his right rear quarter panel because he was on my left rear down the straightaway, I had to be on his right rear through the corners. And as we drove down into Turn 3 on the last lap, I just stared straight at his door, I could see the No. 18 to my left, and I never lifted until I heard him lift, and then I'm like, ‘Wait a minute, I've got to still miss the wall.’

“And he gave me just enough room, as a true racer would or as my little brother would. But I'm really proud of the way that we finished this race 1-2, put on one hell of a show, one of those old-school type races where it's two guys duking it out. Just happened to be brothers, different manufacturers.

“But this one, I can't wait to go watch the video of and tell people about it and show the sport of NASCAR and the production and the pride that everybody has to try to get to Victory Lane was shown in those last few laps.”

The Busch brothers will be among the favorites to win the 26th Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line on Sunday, Sept. 8 at IMS. And what fan wouldn’t like to see a repeat of their brotherly bash in the final laps at the Brickyard?

Bring it, boys.

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