(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Truckin’ Thursdays: Kyle Busch Bounty Takes Another Turn

Frontstretch’s Truck Series content is presented by American Trucks

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about The Bounty, originally stemming from a tweet by Kevin Harvick, for any full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver to run a Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race and beat Kyle Busch.

A quick recap: there’s a $100,000 bounty offered by Harvick and Gander RV CEO Marcus Lemonis for any Cup driver who can enter a Truck Series reace and beat Busch in any of his remaining four races this season. If Busch beats those challengers, the money goes to his foundation.

Chase Elliott is running a truck for GMS Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway when the series gets back on track this weekend. Additionally, Kyle Larson and Erik Jones are both set to run at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the bounty as well.

Of course, not to leave Truck regulars out, Chris Larsen, owner of Halmar International offered $50,000 for a series regular to beat Busch.

But there’s another aspect to this bounty that’s reared its head this week. According to a report from shorttrackscene.com, Larsen’s contribution to the Truck Series side of the bounty is drawing ire from the late model world.

According to that report, Larsen owes $63,000 from a four-race agreement with Stewart Friesen to run super late models in 2018. Check out the link above for the full details of the complaint.

I’m not here to debate who’s right and who’s wrong in this case. That’s not for me to determine, nor is it something that falls within my expertise. Instead, what I find is that it’s a bit disappointing to have this distraction on an otherwise exciting time for the Truck Series. After all, when is the last time you can remember people talking about the series while it didn’t race for two weekends?

Exactly.

What’s been perhaps most interesting about the whole bounty is just how polarizing it has been among fans. I’ve seen comments ranging from excitement to have bigger names running in the series to people saying they won’t watch at all because there’s a Cup driver in the field. That’s their loss, I suppose, since the series does put on some of the best racing in NASCAR.

Personally, I struggle to see the bad in this situation. Certainly, Busch has been unbeatable recently, but let’s not forget that he doesn’t win every single race he enters in the lower series. In fact, it might surprise you that, despite the fact that he’s won seven times in his last seven Truck Series starts, Busch’s win percentage in the Truck Series is actually only 37.7%. That means he’s been beaten by Truck regulars (and those who may race Xfinity or Cup) nearly 63% of the time.

It’s not a forgone conclusion that Busch gets the trophy each week. Period. Otherwise, why would anyone bother racing when he’s entered? Just like every other driver on the track, he’s human and there are plenty of things that can go wrong for him.

But in the end, this whole bounty matter comes out in a positive way. More fans will tune in to see their favorite driver, one who may not have otherwise planned to run in the series this year. That, in theory, should show them the type of racing they can see each week and encourage them to stick around. Others will watch simply because they’re curious about how things are going to play out with the bounty.

And if, in the end, Busch does go four for four in his remaining races, the bounty ultimately goes to a good cause in the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Foundation.

Truckin’ Tidbits:

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway is doing its own thing to get involved in helping charities for the upcoming bounty race. By following this link, fans who don’t already have tickets for the weekend can purchase theirs and help the charity of their choice.
  • Given all of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 (better known as coronavirus), NASCAR has announced its own adjustments heading into this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Among those are modifications to who will be allowed to attend the drivers’ meeting, driver at-track media availabilities, recommendations about drivers holding autograph sessions and more. For the full list of the policies NASCAR has put in place, click here.
  • ThorSport Racing announced a new season-long sponsorship deal for Johnny Sauter with Sakar and its brands Vivitar and Altec Lansing.
  • Brandon Jones will return to the Truck Series for four races this season behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. With the help of veteran crew chief Danny Stockman, Jones will run Iowa Speedway (June 12), Pocono Raceway (June 27), Kentucky Speedway (July 9) and Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 30).
  • David Ragan, who retired from full-time Cup Series racing at the end of the 2018 season will be back to race in the Truck Series at Richmond Raceway next month. He’ll run the No. 17 Ford with backing from Select Blinds.
  • Mannington Commercial has signed on to back Todd Gilliland’s No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The company previously sponsored David Ragan in two Cup Series events at the end of last season.
  • Clay Greenfield is planning to run a paint scheme on his truck, in partnership with Rackley Roofing, to honor those who were affected by the recent tornadoes that struck Tennessee.

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Content Director Beth heads up management of our 30-person staff, acting as Tom’s main assistant with technology and personnel while working as Frontstretch’s Truck Series expert. The author of Truckin’ Thursdays and the coordinator of the site’s pre and post-race coverage, she also runs a periodic charity column that spotlights when NASCAR gives back. A childhood transplant to Texas, Beth is a 15-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.

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One comment

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    I also see very little negative in this. Shame that dirty laundry aired but I doubt it makes any major headlines. I am also one of the fans who has never cared who raced in what series. Was a bit surprised Kyle’s win percentage is that low…what is his win percentage in a KBM truck though?