— Recent fatherhood has not mellowed the competitive hearts of Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski on the racetrack.
They are still contentious blood brothers. Might as well stitch "Hatfield" or "McCoy" on each's fire suit.
Any chance of a Kumbaya moment was hijacked during a news conference Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway when Busch was asked, "Can you see a time down the road where your son and Brad Keselowski's daughter go to the prom together?"
"Unless it's the MRO prom, they probably won't go to the same school together just based off where I think Brad lives and where we live," Busch said. "We obviously don't have a relationship and may or may not ever, but that's to be seen down the road. We live two completely different lives right now and we'll take care of our son the best we can and put him in the best situations we can."
And then, the punchline:
"But if he for some reason he feels like he needs to go chase down Brad's daughter, then have at it, bud."
Boom. Busch and Keselowski are the salt and pepper of NASCAR, sprinkling their rivalry with a contentious afterbite. Keselowski and Busch never have been friendly on the track, with an incident at Kansas Speedway in 2013 when Busch tapped Keselowski's car and spun him out near the end of a Nationwide race.
Perhaps another moment awaits Sunday night during the Coca-Cola 600. Keselowski's No. 2 Ford will start sixth. Busch, making his first points-race start after suffering significant leg injuries in February in an Xfinity race crash, starts 17th in his No. 18 Toyota.
As Busch noted, the two don't chat. Never bother with any perfunctory small talk. It's been that ways for years, ever since Kansas, as Keselowski explained in an expansive blog about the relationship, which he wrote in March:
"The next day before driver introductions [in Kansas], I tried to approach Kyle, but he wouldn't talk to me. So I walked right up to him anyway and said, 'I hope you're looking forward to next the four or five weeks.' Then I explained, in so many words, that I was going to make things hard on him for the rest of the season.
"That was our last real interaction."
Busch did respond to the blog post, saying he didn't recall any of the incidents Keselowski described in detail and brushing off others to Keselowski being a jerk.
Besides their contentious rivalry, they now share the joys of fatherhood. Kyle's wife, Samantha, gave birth to son Brexton on Monday night. Keselowski's girlfriend, Paige White, gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl, on Tuesday.
"It's a whole new world right now for sure," Busch said.
But in some ways, things have stayed the same. Predictably, there has been radio silence between the two on the Internet since the births.
"One day, I imagine both of us will kind of open our eyes, and realize that there's really no need for everything that has and hasn't happened between the two of us," Keselowski wrote. "I've had moments where I've been jealous of him. Maybe he's had the same kinds of moments about me — I don't know. But hopefully, one day, we'll be able to get along. When it comes to racing, it seems like we have too much in common not to. I just have to believe that eventually, we'll get past everything that we've been through, and get to someplace better.
"I'm looking for ways to get there. Maybe this is one of them."
Gentlemen, start your engines — and your tempers — Sunday night.