Inotes: /Inascar Fines Busch

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CONCORD, N.C. – Kurt Busch apologized Thursday for his comments last Saturday after The Winston, when Busch said he spun Robby Gordon out because he needed a caution.

Before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600, Busch said he took the same relaxed approach of The Winston in his post-race interview. NASCAR hasn’t handed down any penalties for Busch’s comments, but Busch said he’ll abide by anything the sanctioning body mandates.

“I never go out to intentionally take anybody out,” Busch said. “I‘ve lived with that rapport since day one. The accident happened on Turn 2 of Lowe’s Motor Speedway on The Winston night, and I felt as if I chose the wrong words to talk about afterward. Now we’re going to have to deem necessary with the penalties, as far as what’s going to come up from it, whether it’s anything that comes from NASCAR or it’s media.

“The Winston is a bit less casual, as far as the way the race is approached from the other drivers. That’s the way I approached interview afterwards, but this is still a NASCAR race, and they’re still the ones holding court.”

Busch met with NASCAR president Mike Helton on Thursday but didn’t talk about the substance of the meeting.

“We met, and we had a discussion about things,” Busch said. “We’ll see how things turn out tomorrow.”

NASCAR officials said there was a chance a penalty could be handed down Thursday or Friday.

Gordon said earlier in the week he was still upset at Busch, and when Busch was asked whether the two would talk this weekend, Busch said thanks to the several journalists gathered outside his hauler and turned to go inside without answering.

As for the crash in The Winston, Busch didn’t take the blame.

“Two cars checked up in the center of 1 and 2, Tony Stewart and the 31,” Busch said. “The two were racing side-by-side. I had a run to go underneath them, and I kept my foot on the floor. I had to check up because the 31 had crossed over into my lane. By the time I checked up, it was too late, and we bumped into him.”

Sadler Permanent?
Car owner Junie Donlavey said he doesn’t know what ails Rick Mast and isn’t sure when or if Mast would be back in the No. 90 Fords.

Hermie Sadler has taken over driving duties for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway while Mast undergoes tests to determine what his medical condition is. Mast isn’t at the track this weekend.

“Rick called me (Tuesday) night, and he said he had to take some time off because he had a bunch of tests he had to go through,” Donlavey said. “We’ve noticed that he’s lost a lot of weight recently, and we’re just hoping that everything is all right. But until he goes through all of his tests, we won’t know. We’re just going to take things one day at a time because we don’t know really know anything.”

Sadler said he was happy to get the call from Donlavey, who is a Virginia native like Sadler.

“Emporia (Sadler’s hometown) is only about 60 miles away from Junie, so I was able to buzz over there pretty quick and get my seat in there and talk to all the guys,” Sadler said. “I know many of those guys because a lot of them worked for me when I had my Busch team, so in a lot of ways, it’s like old times. It’s a great honor and a great opportunity, so we’ll see what happens.”

Sadler said he’s “just filling in until (Rick’s) ready to come back.”

“I’m just happy to be here, and I’m gonna work real hard to do them a good job and come out of here with a good, solid weekend,” Sadler said. “Whatever happens from here happens, but we’ll make the best of this weekend.”

Pettys Unveil New Book
The Petty Family announced the release of The Petty Family Album, 192-page book with photographs of the Pettys’ many years in NASCAR. The book contains numerous pictures of patriarch Lee Petty, his son Richard, Richard’s son Kyle and Kyle’s son Adam and the rest of the Petty family, and many haven’t been published before.

Proceeds from the sale of the book – which is priced at $35 and is published through Universe Publishing – goes to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a facility with programs for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses that will open in 2004.

“I’ll be honest, when we first started talking about it, I wasn’t interested in doing it,” Petty said. “I wasn’t interested in opening those boxes of pictures and going back through stuff and revisiting it on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

“But Pattie (Kyle’s wife) had a real vision for what it could do. And she had a vision for what it could for the camp, and that was the main thing. You kind of give in and say, ‘This is not about us. This is about doing something that we can use as a healing process for us personally and emotionally, and at the same time, it’s going to benefit the camp.’ ”

Kyle said the money goes straight to the camp, so the “camp is about Adam, the book is about Adam.” Adam Petty was killed two years ago while practicing for a Busch Series race at New Hampshire.

Another All-Star Race?
Well, no, it won’t be The Winston. But Ken Schrader’s I-55 Raceway will host the M&Ms Night of Stars on July 31, with proceeds also going to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. So far, Schrader, Petty, Dale Jarrett and Kenny Wallace have signed to compete in the race, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick perhaps driving, too.

“We thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to get a bunch of the guys come out,” Schrader said. “We’ve set a goal. We’ve never made $100,000 during a night, but that’s what we’re shooting for. We’ll get close, I know.”

The Winston Cup drivers will drive dirt modifieds on the 3/8ths-mile track.

“It’s kind of funny,” Petty said. “We’re going to Kenny’s race track, Kenny’s going to make all the money, Kenny’s going to win the race, M&Ms sponsors everything. But that’s OK.”

Wallace to Stand By For Gordon
Richard Childress Racing will have Mike Wallace standing by for Robby Gordon for the Coca-Cola 600 should Gordon have trouble returning to Concord, N.C. from Indianapolis.

“We appreciate Mike standing by to help out the Cingular team if needed,” Childress said. “We’re making every effort to get Robby back to Charlotte in time to drive the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in the Coca-Cola 600, but we also realize there’s a very small window he has to work with, and we have to make sure the Cingular Wireless Chevy is on the track when the race starts.”

Gordon participated in Carburetion Day at Indy on Thursday before flying back to Lowe’s Motor Speedway for Winston Cup practice. Gordon missed the first few minutes of Cup practice, but the session was delayed twice.

No Backup for Rusty
Rusty Wallace has three broken toes from a wreck in The Winston last weekend, but he joked he won’t need a relief driver.

“I have a broken toe, man,” Wallace said. “It’s not a broken arm.”

On a serious note, Wallace said Saturday’s crash was one of the hardest hits he’s ever had in Winston Cup racing.

“I’d have been in rougher shape if I didn’t have the head-and-neck restraint system,” Wallace said. “Me saying this is the hardest one I ever took, I don’t know if I would have survived without (the Hutchens Device). … The cockpit of the car held up really, really good, but everything in the front – there’s not one straight point to the car. I’ve never seen a car wrecked that bad in my life – never.

“It cracked the side of my helmet where the Hutchens Device pulls on it. I’ve got a big, old bruise on the left-hand side of my leg where the Hutchens Device grabbed, so it really worked good.”

But a Backup for Spencer
Jimmy Spencer was forced to go to a back-up car for Winston Cup qualifying Thursday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after he spun out in Turn 1 and hit the wall.

Spencer hit a patch of oil on the track. Kurt Busch also spun out during the practice session, but didn’t hit anything.

Barrett To Carry TV Show as Sponsor
Stanton Barrett will carry associate sponsorship from ABC’s World Stunt Awards in Saturday’s CarQuest 300 Busch Series race. Barrett, a professional stuntman, is up for an award in the Best Water Work category for his stunts in “Jurassic Park III.”

The awards show will be televised Saturday night.

“We’re really excited to have this show join Bojangles’ and OdoBan on our car,” Barrett said. “The faith these companies are putting into our race team, along with the faith people like Jeff Hammond, Richard Lasater and Terry Allen are putting in, means a lot to me, and I think it shows a lot of what we are building with Red Racing. We have a lot of great things planned this year, and even greater things in 2003. I think we’re off to a great start.”

Barrett co-owns the team with Jody Looney, with Hammond as team manager, Lasater as crew chief and Allen as team coordinator.

Hobgood Wins Dash Series Pole
Justin Hobgood won the pole for Thursday night’s Dash Series race with a lap of 153.361 mph, edging Cam Strader and Johnny Chapman.

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