Photo: Logan T. Arce/ASP, Inc.

UPDATED: Elliott and Larson Accept Truck Series Challenge to Beat Kyle Busch

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Kyle Busch has found his first two major “Bounty” opponents for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. Those willing to take up the challenge are none other than two-time Cup Series Most Popular Driver Chase Elliott and veteran driver Kyle Larson.

Elliott tweeted Thursday that he’ll be running the Georgia 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway March 14, piloting a GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado with Hooters as his primary sponsor. The biggest goal of racing the 1.5-mile circuit is being the guy who can stop Busch from scoring his eighth straight series win and earn a cool $100,000.

Two hours after Elliott accepted the challenge, Larson responded that he’ll will also drive for GMS Racing at the following race Busch will run at, the Miami 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 20.

The compelling story of both drivers accepting the challenge began after Busch won last Friday’s Strat 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was Busch’s 57th career win as it began his bid of going undefeated in the series for the second straight year.

Following Busch’s triumph, Larson tweeted three cherry emojis. Implying that Busch is out there in the lower series cherry picking the competition, a cry fans have mentioned for several years.

The following day, a tweet regarding a female fan determines whether or not she’ll watch the Truck Series based on Busch surfaced. Kevin Harvick responded by offering $50,000 to any full-time Cup Series driver who can beat Busch at the remaining four races he’ll be competing which are Atlanta, Homestead, Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway (which Elliott will also run according to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass).

Many drivers were intrigued of Harvick’s idea, even Brendan Gaughan, who’s only running three more Cup races (all on superspeedways) before retiring from NASCAR, played along with the concept.

Harvick declined the request as it’s only full-time Cup drivers, capping off his response with the hashtag “retired.”

While it’s grown to become the focal point of Busch’s remaining truck races, there’s also frustration by Truck Series enthusiasts and the press.

Understandingly, many feel it’s a ploy for Cup drivers to run in the series and snatch opportunities from regulars who trying to make a name for themselves in the lower series. As well as Harvick not offering a similar courtesy to those competing full-time in the Truck Series.

Chagrin it may be, Harvick’s proposed idea was set in stone after CEO of Gander Outdoors Marcus Lemonis doubled the amount to $100,000. The “bounty” has also become Texas’s selling point for fans to attend the Vankor 350 March 27.

What was Busch’s response to the whole serious shenanigans?

He was rather annoyed of the concept, saying that the idea of putting a bounty on any competitor will result in a bad outcome.

If neither Elliott, Larson or any other full-time Cup driver can beat Busch after Kansas, the bounty will go to the Bundle of Joy Fund. Co-founded by both Kyle and wife Samantha Busch, their mission is to advocate for infertility awareness and prevent any financial concerns any couple may go through by granting monetary awards.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. He's also covered Idaho Athletics and high school football as both a writer and videographer. Additionally, he spent 2017 writing several racing columns as an independent journalist. Luis does video and photography, and is a fan of Seattle sports, a music critic and a motivator who wants to impact people's lives.