Kyle and Kurt Busch haven’t always seen eye to eye.
But as the years have passed, NASCAR’s iciest sibling rivalry has thawed to the point where they can joke around a bit.
Kurt Busch did just that Friday after Kyle Busch edged him out by two-thousandths of a second to take the pole for the Cup Series race Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“I can walk up to him and say, ‘Yeah, I let you have it,’ and he will giggle. He will actually laugh,” Kurt Busch said.
This will be the third time the Busch brothers have started on the front row together —the first since 2013. In all three cases, Kyle started first and Kurt second.
“He always told everybody, ‘If you think I’m good, just wait for my younger brother,’ ” joked Kyle Busch.
Kurt Busch said he messed up in turn one and that cost him a shot at a second straight Cup Series pole.
“If I am going to get beat by somebody if I don’t hit a perfect lap, I would rather it be my little brother,” Kurt Busch said.
There was a time when the Busch brothers rarely spoke at all.
But Kurt Busch said they do communicate now.
“It’s better now with age,” he said of their relationship. “Like wine, it gets better with time. You let it settle.”
Last year the Busches finished 1-2 at Sonoma, with Kyle holding off his older brother. There is a chance that could happen again Sunday as they clearly had the fastest cars in all three rounds of qualifying at the half-mile track.
“It was tough years ago for a few times, but lately I guess we have been racing each other a little better,” Kyle Busch said. “Overall, we just need to keep trying to make sure they are good battles and clean battles and not ugly ones.”
Harvick’s tough break: Kevin Harvick will have to start Sunday’s race at the back of the field after crashing in practice and going to a backup car. Harvick’s suspension broke on a practice lap in the morning, and his car took a right turn into the outside wall.
“It definitely wasn’t a tire failure or anything like that, but just going in the corner as soon as I let off the gas, it just hung a right, so it’s unfortunate, but we’ll get another one out and do it again,” said Harvick, who is fourth in the NASCAR standings and has six top-10 finishes in seven starts.