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Busch questions teamwork of Hendrick group

Busch questions teamwork of Hendrick group

Busch questions teamwork of Hendrick group

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Kyle Busch finished second in Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, but clearly feels he could have had a better outing with a little boost from his teammates.

Busch, 22, is parting company with Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season. After Saturday night's race, he claimed that the teammate relationships he shares in the company are already essentially gone.

Busch claimed that none of his Hendrick temmates worked with him in the drafting lines on the restrictor-plate track. One could assume that means they never got in position to do so, though all four Hendrick cars were running in the lead group in the closing laps of the race. But Busch says that wasn't entirely what he meant.

"There was a few opportunities to get behind me and help me, the 24 [of Jeff Gordon] especially," Busch said. "We were running there behind him and then he got passed by the 26 [of Jamie McMurray]. We got by the 24 there and I ducked all the way down to the inside and was on the inside lane and Jeff I think was clear or was clear the lap later and could have came down and helped us and got three Hendrick cars in a row - me, him and the 48 [of Jimmie Johnson] - but chose not to do so and chose to stay up high and help another Roush car.

"It was just frustrating with that and then Jimmie got booted out of there, I guess, and Kurt [Busch] got up there. Then Kurt and I got together and that was probably the best tandem that we had all day long and the best situation we were in. We just didn't have quite enough in order to keep it in front of that 26. He was pretty strong."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins the team of Gordon, Johnson and Casey Mears next season. Until the end of this year, though, Busch says that he's pretty much on his own. He's still confident he can perform well and make the Chase For The Nextel Cup as long as he continues to get good equipment. But Busch admitted that he "sort of" feels like a guy without a team now that he's leaving Hendrick.

"That's what I'm alluding to basically but walking down pit road saying congratulations to Jeff Gordon I got blown off so I guess I'm the outsider looking in now and I'm probably not going to be invited into the team meetings next week so I think bliss is over at Hendrick Motorsports for Kyle Busch," said Busch, who is fielding offers for next year. "We'll get ready for 2008."


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Re: Busch questions teamwork of Hendrick group

Gordon insists Busch still part of team
July 11, 2007

After Kyle Busch and his older brother Kurt tangled on track and exchanged some harsh words at NASCAR's all-star event in May, Jeff Gordon made it a point to make some time for his teammate, Kyle.

Gordon's still willing to give the 22-year-old driver, who's leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season to make room for Dale Earnhardt Jr., the benefit of the doubt. Even in the wake of Busch's accusations last Saturday that his teammates didn't work with him in the race he lost by inches at Daytona.

``I think he's got the utmost support from me,'' Gordon said Wednesday during a teleconference. ``I showed him that before any of these moves happened. ... Throughout this whole thing, I've told him, 'Hey, I'm going to support you, race with you hard but be your teammate at the same time.'

``I plan on continuing to do that because it's in our best interest because that (No.) 5 team is such a solid team.''

Teamwork is particularly important at Daytona, one of only two Nextel Cup tracks where NASCAR requires horsepower-sapping carburetor restrictor plates. Drivers need a partner to help them gain and keep momentum.

At the end of Saturday's Pepsi 400, Jamie McMurray's Roush Fenway Racing teammates helped push him to the win - by a bumper - over Busch. While Busch was racing on the low side of the banked oval, teammates Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears chose to stay in the high groove.

``I guess I'm on the outside looking in now,'' Busch said after the race. ``I'm probably not going to be invited to the team meetings next week. I think bliss is over at Hendrick Motorsports for Kyle Busch. We're getting ready for 2008.''

While recording his satellite radio show for this week, Johnson was asked about Busch's remarks.

``I mean, dude, we're racing, and he should know better than anyone that there's times that work and don't work. And he should also know and recognize that there's times where he doesn't necessarily do what other people want him to do, including his teammates, on the track,'' Johnson said. ``So it is what it is. ... I mean he's not in a good situation with the fact that he's leaving. ... It would be hard to believe that things don't escalate as times goes on and it doesn't become more difficult for this whole teammate situation to exist.''

But Gordon said everybody should cut Busch some slack for his outburst.

``I think that was a little bit of frustration,'' the four-time Cup champion said. ``I think he had such a great car and a shot at winning that race, and I think that, if he was driving my car, he would understand that I didn't really have a great opportunity to get down there and help him as easy as it may have looked.

``My car just didn't work good all night on the bottom groove, so I had to stay up top, and there wasn't much I could do for him. And I will admit there were some times throughout the race where I felt like, you know, he could have helped me and I could have helped him, and it did not work out. That happens all the time in a restrictor plate race, whether it's with a teammate or other guys out there.''

Busch also said Gordon, who finished fifth at Daytona, ignored him when he tried to talk with him after the race.

``After the race, I was doing an interview and he came by and kind of grabbed me by the shoulder and said 'Good race,' and I gave him a thumbs up,'' Gordon explained. ``I'm not exactly sure where that came from on me blowing him off, but I'm obviously a huge supporter of that 5 team, what they're doing.''

Gordon, who leads the points, noted chemistry is important for a team's success in any sport and, particularly, in racing.

``You don't want anything to really get in the way of that,'' he said. ``If there's rivalries that are going too far within your own organization that start to disrupt the chemistry, then that can be bad.

``It's only in our best interests to work together and make the best of the situation,'' Gordon said. ``I've got just to guess that in the heat of moment that Kyle said some things that maybe he wished he hadn't. But I love racing with him, and I look forward to working with him the rest of the year the best I can.''

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Re: Busch questions teamwork of Hendrick group

Top Ten Reasons Kyle Busch is REALLY Mad at his Hendrick Teammates
Kim DeHaven and Amy Henderson

10. They all have Supermodel wives – AND can remember their names.

9. The company Holiday cards were sent out signed “Rick, Jeff, Jimmie, Casey, and Kurt’s Little Brother.”

8. Just because it says Corn Flakes ON the car doesn’t mean they need to put all those Corn Flakes IN the car!

7. They make him use the guest bathroom at the shop – and all the fans stare.

6. They named all the shrubs out front “Kyle,” but they talk to them more than him!

5. Underwear mysteriously appears at top of HMS flagpole at least once a month.

4. Exploding golf balls.

3. They’re forever eating his lunch out of the shop fridge.

2. He has normal eyebrows – and the girls STILL like them better – it’s not fair!

1. Somehow always gets “accidentally” elbowed into that damn fountain EVERY single week!


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