Tough Times For Busch

If it's true that there really is "no I in team," Kyle Busch definitely considers himself the "I" at Hendrick Motorsports.

Since the announcement that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would join Hendrick next year, Busch has been forced into the awkward role of lame duck driver of the No. 5 car.

Things seemed to come to a head in last Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway when Busch felt his "teammates" Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon didn't help him down the stretch in the race to beat Jamie McMurray for the win.

Rather than line up behind the No. 5 and help draft to the front, both Gordon and Johnson chose a line away from their Hendrick stablemate, a move that confounded Busch.

“We just didn't quite have the teammate situation all worked out today but all in all it was a great effort by my team and my guys to bring it home in second,” Busch said.

After missing becoming the first driver to win both a Busch Series race and NEXTEL Cup event on the same day by just .005 seconds one might think his teammates would come congratulate him on his performance.

“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.”

Since the announcement of his future departure, Busch has showed no signs of slowing down. He heads to this weekend’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on the heels of four top-10 finishes in the last five races.

“All I need are my team guys to stick behind me,” Busch said. “My crew chief and the team and the guys in the chassis shop and the body shop and everybody to give me the same equipment they've given me the whole time. And if that keeps coming my way, then I'll be just fine and this team will be just fine.

"As soon as something changes and somebody gets an order to make the thing blow up on lap 50, then we're going down hill. Hopefully that won't happen and Kellogg's and CARQUEST I'm sure won't want to see that.”

Busch now finds himself in situation that is similar to what his brother, Kurt, went through with Roush Racing in 2005 before making the move to Penske the following year.

"For Kyle, the advice I would give is to understand that you're out there working as an individual," Kurt said. "Hendrick is fielding your cars. There's not much you can do to help the other guys so therefore there's not much you should do to expect help from the other guys."

Despite the challenge for what may lie ahead for the rest of the season given his situation, Busch is focused on doing his job - driving his race car.

"I'm a race car driver. I'll race just as hard with anybody else as I do with anybody so whether it's a Gibbs car, a Penske car, a Hendrick car. If I have to race my teammates now differently than what I used to then I'll do it."

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