KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - David Reutimann's retaliatory nudge at Kansas Speedway left Kyle Busch fuming and added another chapter to the two drivers' contentious history.
Busch spun Reutimann early in Sunday's race after what he called unintentional contact. Reutimann got his payback with 112 laps remaining when Busch was running seventh, hitting the outside of Busch's car and forcing him into the wall - spinning himself out in the process.
It dropped Busch to 22nd in the field, and he finished 21st.
``I have a serious problem with what just happened and I don't think anyone in the (NASCAR) tower is going to do a damn thing about it,'' Busch said over the radio. It didn't help when crew chief Dave Rogers informed Busch that he believed Reutimann's team ordered him to wreck Busch.
Busch began the day third in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, but he dropped to seventh and now trails new leader Jimmie Johnson by 80 points.
He stalked straight to his hauler after the race, then emerged several minutes later, much calmer and no longer believing that Reutimann should be penalized for the wreck. The only thing he seemed to take exception to was the timing.
``My fault, 100 percent,'' he said. ``But the retaliation for a guy that's in the Chase, that's racing for something? He'll be here next year. He could have wrecked me in any of the first 26 races next year. That would have been fine.
``It's just hard to swallow a day like today where we had a top five car going.''
The bad blood between the two became apparent after the night at Bristol in August. Busch held off Reutimann, who was fighting a nasty bout of food poisoning, for the victory and then criticized the other driver's skills, saying Reutimann ``didn't drive the place right.''
Reutimann called Busch's remark ``probably the stupidest comment I've heard anyone say'' and derisively calling the younger driver ``Superman'' and ``Professor Busch.''
Reutimann insisted Sunday there's no animosity between himself and Busch, but bristled at any suggestion that non-Chase drivers should avoid taking on Cup contenders.
``I don't care if you're in the Chase or not. You need to think about who you're running over when you're running over them,'' he said. ``I don't care who you are. If you're in the Chase, you have as much responsibility to drive with respect as I do, or anybody else.
``If you guys want me to feel bad, then yeah, I feel bad that our car got wrecked and it ruined our day. That's what I feel bad about.''
ROUGH DAY FOR BOWYER: Clint Bowyer hoped a strong showing at his home track would ease the pain of a 150-point penalty that effectively ended his Sprint Cup hopes. Instead, he struggled at the back of the pack for much of the afternoon.
Bowyer, who grew up 90 minutes away in Emporia, Kan., started 27th and finished 15th - after running as low as the mid-30s. He said he ``fought'' his Chevrolet most of the day and credited his Richard Childress Racing crew with helping him improve his position.
``I'm proud of my guys for working every single pit stop to make it better,'' he said. ``A top-15 finish isn't exactly what I had hoped for, but we'll take it.''
Bowyer's disappointing result came four days after a three-member panel denied his team's appeal of the penalty. Bowyer was penalized after the car he drove to victory in the opening Chase race at New Hampshire failed inspection.
John Middlebrook, NASCAR's chief appellate officer, could overturn the penalty in a hearing next week. Bowyer has said he doesn't expect that to happen.
HAMLIN STRUGGLES: Denny Hamlin, who finished 12th and lost the Chase lead to Jimmie Johnson, also had difficulties controlling his car at Kansas.
``We were hanging around 20th for most of the day, and the car just went back and forth,'' he said. ``Even when I thought the balance was close, we were just two- or three- or four-tenths off at times. I kind of was a little bit worried about it at the beginning, but I knew right away we were going to have a long day.''
Hamlin opened the day with a 35-point lead over Johnson, and is now second in the standings, eight points behind the four-time defending champion.
``Obviously, we're not out of this by any means,'' he said.
CROSSING THE BORDER: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon made his first race-day visit to Kansas Speedway on Sunday, touting economic cooperation across state lines.
``With some things, you just have to take a regional approach,'' Nixon said. ``At the hotel where we stayed last night - in Missouri, I might add - a lot of the people were coming out here to the races this weekend.''
Nixon, a dirt-track racing fan who once watched Rusty Wallace and Ken Schrader at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., said he hoped someone would derail Jimmie Johnson's quest for a fifth straight Sprint Cup championship.
``Jimmie's a nice guy, but I hate to see anyone win five times in a row,'' Nixon said, before laughing and adding, ``But then again, I was attorney general four straight times, so I guess I shouldn't say anything.''

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