Whenever one is in need of sound bite, just visit Kurt or Kyle Busch. The brothers from Las Vegas are never ones to mince words and Friday at Watkins Glen International, Kurt was the only one making it clear that he doesn’t like Hendrick Motorsports.
Coming off a weekend in Pocono where Jimmie Johnson once again put him in the wall, Busch wasn’t ready to kiss and make up. According to Busch, he had race cars sitting back at the Penske Racing facilities that have seen the bumper of Johnson more than they should have.
“I’ve been wrecked by Johnson quite a bit the last 13 months,” Busch said Friday.
“Whether it was racing or whether it was just a small bump that he didn’t intend to mean what he did. He didn’t intentionally try to wreck us at Pocono, but it ended up that way. So, there might be some of that coming from my side,” Busch continued.
“I might not intentionally try to wreck him, but we have a high car count of wreck cars over at our shop from those guys on the 48 and even Jeff Gordon with what he did to us at Sonoma.”
It was no doubt a call to even the score.
Johnson for his part doesn’t think much of it. Saying after last week's race that since Busch isn’t very fond of him, he’ll take a shot at him wherever he can get it, on track or off. Busch though is keeping score, which dates all the way back to Sonoma of last season.
Going through the “S” turns, Johnson hit the curb and came back across the racetrack. In doing so he went into the back of Busch and off went the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge into the tire barriers.
A few weeks later, the two knocked doors in Chicagoland, resulting in Busch getting squeezed into the wall. His side of the event was that Johnson just drove into the side of him. Johnson passed the blame to teammate Jeff Gordon, saying the No. 24 made him lose.
After the race Busch told the audience, “The 48 [Johnson], you know we got run into in Sonoma, we got run into again. I'm starting to lose faith in his ability to be a three-time champion on the track.”
What happens in 2009, doesn't always stay in 2009.
After losing to Johnson at Bristol in March, Busch said he would rather lose to anyone other than the 48 team. It was clearly evident in his face and words how much it made him sick. A few months later, the same happened again in New Hampshire when Johnson got the best of their battle.
The two waged a bump and run show, with Johnson admitting he would have wrecked Busch if he felt he intentionally hit him, with Johnson getting the bump that mattered. Johnson four and Busch zero.
Now it’s up to five with the wreck last weekend in Pocono and it's the reason that Busch had everyone’s attention during his top 12 in points media availability. Instead of just hammering on Johnson and saying that the two are in the midst of their own little rivalry, he didn’t want to leave out the other HMS drivers.
Busch also has a bit of history with Gordon.
Last year in New Hampshire Busch and Gordon battled side-by-side on a few different restarts. No harm was done to either, a few bent fenders and some angry words over the radio (Gordon mentioned putting Busch in the wall) and lots of exciting racing.
During a few times the racing between Gordon and Busch resulted in three-wide action with Tony Stewart who snuck in-between the two, as well as Johnson. Not surprising that Johnson and Busch again would get together and this time Busch was the one that had the pleasure of sending Johnson up the track.
Ironically, it would be at Sonoma again that Busch was be the on receiving end of a HMS sucker punch.
It was Gordon that was one of many aggressive drivers a few races ago, and Busch was one of the few drivers that he sent for a ride that day. It gave the opportunity for Busch to provide another memorable quote, when coining a new nickname for the driver of the DuPont Chevrolet.
“There’s a lot of guys in front of me that want to go talk to Jeff ‘Bulldozer’ Gordon,” Busch said.
Seems the only war that Busch has been winning when it comes to taking on the most dominate company in the sport, is the one in the media. And now it seems that since he dislikes one, actually make that two, HMS drivers he has to dislike the remaining two.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin seem to have stayed away from the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion and his wrath, that is until now.
“The guys at Hendrick are pretty boys and they get on People Magazine covers and that’s their job,” said Busch. “My job is to go out and race cars and that’s what I focus on.”
Is anyone still trying to say that there isn’t a hatred here?
With all four HMS drivers’ names now stomped on, Busch wanted to talk about a future driver at HMS, Kasey Kahne. In 2011 Kahne will be the new driver of the No. 5 that will be vacated by Martin.
For Busch, even if he wanted to try and get in that car, he wouldn’t have fit the HMS mold.
“If I even thought that I had a shot of jumping in that 5 car, a pretty boy named Kasey Kahne got picked over me," Busch said.
Bitter, table of one, this way please.
It’s hard, however, to blame Busch. The battle has been as he said, a one-way street. As HMS has dominated and celebrated, his team has been left working overtime.
Said Johnson on it all, “I think in a good way there is a little bit of a rivalry.”
One would only think that Busch will only be pushed for so long until he starts pushing back. Then we’ll see, who’s having a good time.
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