Bet NASCAR! The Eckel 3 pick the Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway – so have a Coke and a mile (600 of them)
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Six races into the 2019 NASCAR circuit Kyle Busch had already won two races, was in first place in the standings and was on his way to the Cup Series Championship.
Six races into the strange and interrupted 2020 circuit Busch does not have a win, is mired in 13th place in the standings and came out of Wednesday’s race at Darlington in the middle of a controversy.
In case you missed it, with 28 laps to go in the Toyota 500 Chase Elliott was in second place and about to challenge leader and eventual winner Denny Hamlin. Busch was inside next to Elliott, and tried to get back in line up top, he misjudged the spacing between him and Elliott, clipped his left rear and sent Elliott nose first into the wall and out of the race.
Elliott, furious at the time, signaled to Busch that he thought he was No. 1, or something like that.
“No regrets,” Elliott said of his salute on a conference call Friday. “I thought it was warranted, and I thought he was deserving.”
The two have talked since and things seemed to be smoothed over. For now.
“Yes, Chase and I talked and it went really well,” Busch said during the Xfinity Series post-race virtual media center availability. “He’s a class act, we’ve all seen that. The conversation overall was good.”
Said Elliott: “I don’t think he did it on purpose. Again, I hate that I was on the wrong end of a rare mistake on his end. For a guy that doesn’t make many, hate that it was me that took the blow.”
The two will be back at it Sunday night in Charlotte for the longest race of the season, the Coca Cola 600. Busch is the co-favorite (with Hamlin) to get his first win of the season at 4-1. Elliott, who finished fourth in this race a year ago, is 9-1.
After an impressive effort Wednesday night that saw the drivers selected finish 1-3-4-5 (and they also had Elliott), the Eckel 3 try again this week. Here are the selections, which as always includes the knowledge of Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker.
Martin Truex Jr. (6-1): The New Jersey native has had a rough go this season, but showed signs of getting back on track, Wednesday night. He has three wins at Charlotte and has finished in the top 5 seven of his last eight races here.
Kyle Busch (4-1): “Left Turn’’ thinks Kyle, with his now bad boy image, gets his first win. And “Tobacco Road’’ likes him this week as well. I’m not so sure, but it’s never smart to count him out.
Joey Logano (8-1): He’s finished second in this race the past two years, maybe it’s time for him to get to Victory Lane.
Longshot Watch: Kurt Busch (22-1); Aric Almirola (33-1), Clint Bowyer (25-1).