Ricky Stenhouse Jr Calls Out Michael McDowell’s “Pinball” Game at the Busch Light Clash

Published 02/04/2024, 6:54 AM EST

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At the official pre-season race at the Coliseum, it wasn’t exactly a demolition derby, but there were enough scuffles to throw a wrench in some drivers’ plans. Among the contacts, the clash between Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Michael McDowell stood out. Meanwhile, Michael McDowell also found himself in a tangle with Ross Chastain. They hashed things out, but it looks like the air might still be a bit frosty between Stenhouse Jr and McDowell, even after their chat.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr says he left a little mad after the race

Ricky Stenhouse Jr, the reigning Daytona 500 champ, couldn’t shake off his frustration after the race. Earlier in the evening, he was seen having a heated chat with John Hunter Nemechek during a break about some on-track drama. Then Stenhouse got his feathers ruffled by a bold move from Michael McDowell on a restart, leading to a tit-for-tat under the next caution after their scuffle sent Ross Chastain spinning.


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McDowell and Stenhouse traded paint a bit before cooling their jets for the remainder of the event. When quizzed about the tussle with McDowell post-race, Stenhouse didn’t hold back. Yeah, just dive-bombing me three wide for no reason on a restart. So that was it just go and talk to him about that cuz you know we were both a lap down he was actually two laps down I was one lap down and uh there was just no reason for it. I mean it’s a you know smaller than a quarter mile and playing pinball out there so uh then the 34 kind of did the same thing exactly the same thing.”

He further continued, “And we talked afterwards and he said that uh he just really wanted to try and finish you know 15th or 10th and I was like well it doesn’t really matter where you finish unless you win this race. I told him I went through you know the exhibition race here you make the race and you just try not to make people mad. And they saw it different than I did. So, I left a little mad but um you know it’s part of it I’m I’m over it now.” On the other hand, Michale McDowell opined, “He [Ricky Stenhouse Jr] was just upset uh he was upset I got underneath him on the restart and yeah so just Racing.”

And while everyone saw what happened between the two, why is it that no one knew about the drama that unfolded between Ricky Stenhouse Jr and John Hunter Nemechek?

Watch This Story: Martin Truex Jr Leads The Way Again As Odds For The Clash At The Coliseum Are Out


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NASCAR did tease the fans with a snippet of Ricky Stenhouse Jr fuming at John Hunter Nemechek, but that was about all we got. Fox Sports dropped the ball big time.

Fox Sports messed up with the footage


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The official broadcaster- Fox Sports, skipped over the whole Joey Logano-Ty Gibbs scuffle, glossed over whatever went down between Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick in the final lap, and completely missed capturing Stenhouse Jr’s pit road showdown with Nemechek. Sure, the race had its moments of fire, with drivers not holding back and plenty of action in the passing lanes, but the juicy bits? Left to the imagination.


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What we do know is that Stenhouse Jr had a few choice words for Nemechek, leaning into his window for a little man-to-man during the mid-race break. Besides, having won the Daytona 500 last year, it would be intriguing to Ricky Stenhouse Jr try to defend his title.

“Those Knuckleheads Divebombed It” – Ricky Stenhouse Jr & Michael McDowell’s Shenanigans Prove Detrimental for Ross Chastain


Written by:

Neha Dwivedi


One take at a time

Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As a journalist, she religiously believes in the power of research, which allows her readers to dive deep into her stories and experience the detailed nuances of the sport like never before. Being proficient with Core Sport and Live Event Coverage, she has written multiple copies on the top entities of Stock Car Racing, like Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Tony Stewart.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad