The way that Kurt Busch and his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team ran on Sunday at New Hampshire would have anyone under the impression that all is well with the Penske team as they try to win the 2009 Sprint Cup Series championship.
If it wasn't bad enough that news broke recently that crew chief Pat Tryson would be leaving the team at season's end, he'll join Michael Waltrip Racing and their new driver Martin Truex Jr., Penske is only letting Tryson in the shop once a week between now and the end of the season.
Busch expressed how the news of Tryson leaving at this point in the season, as the Chase got under way, wasn't what the team needed. But they went out and finished a solid second last Saturday night in Richmond to lock into the Chase and backed it up on Sunday by leading laps and finishing sixth.
The only Penske team in the Chase is going to have to try and win the championship when their leader can only be in the race shop on Tuesday for team debriefs. Other than that, he's been told that he's locked out.
"Tuesday is the only day I'm welcome," Tryson said.
The Penske organization does not want him in the shop as they prepare for 2010 since he'll be leaving and joining another organization. Instead they want him focused on 2009, and Penske vice president of operations says it makes no sense for Tryson to sit down with them as they discuss next season.
It's also no doubt a little bit of Penske not wanting Tryson to take his knowledge to the competition next year about what the company is up to or what they have planned.
But is limiting his shop time going to be beneficial in trying to win a championship?
The No. 2 team has been one of the top five teams all year, and one of the banner carriers for the Dodge organization, and at one time was second in points. They also dominated the March Atlanta race for the only victory to date of the season.
Busch is going to be a player in this year's Chase all the way to the finale, but one has to wonder, how big a player that could be with these recent developments?
"I'm just worried about winning the championship," Tryson said Sunday. "You can do a lot of it via e-mail so it's not that big a deal. The biggest thing is the lack of communication with the guys, seeing the guys."
A perfect example of a team adapting to technology during race weekends would be Jimmie Johnson and his Lowe's team back in 2006. They lost crew chief Chad Knaus to suspension for six races and when Knaus wasn't at the track he was texting and e-mailing the team information.
The No. 48 team won two races during Knaus' absence and now the No. 2 team will have to adapt their race shop in the same way, working without their crew chief until they arrive at the track.
Tryson even decided to join Busch in his Friday media conference at New Hampshire because he said he wanted to clear up any doubts about his departure. Saying that the reason he came to Penske Racing was because of Kurt Busch, and the reason he stayed at Penske Racing was because of Kurt Busch.
Now though, he says that he has things that he wants to accomplish in his career, and that his departure has nothing to do with Kurt Busch. It was his personal decision and one "that don't have anything to do with who is driving the race car."
Busch was the inaugural winner of the Chase back in 2004 but he drove for Roush-Fenway racing back then. Roger Penske and Penske Racing has never won a championship and neither has Tryson.
Right now the split between Tryson, Busch and Penske is said to be mutual, but if it ends up affecting their shot at a championship over the next nine races there won't be anything mutual about it.
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