Busch Not Expecting Retaliation
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on May 17, 2013 | 2:07 P.M. EST
Busch doesn’t expect Kasey Kahne to retaliate for their incidents this season but admits that "If it happens, I’ll understand.' " (Photo: Getty Images)
CONCORD, N.C. - Kyle Busch says he doesn’t expect Kasey Kahne to retaliate for their incidents this season but admits that "If it happens, I’ll understand.' "
Busch and Kahne were racing for the lead late in last weekend’s Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway when Kahne crashed. Although it didn't appear that Busch hit Kahne’s car, Kahne blamed Busch for the incident - the third one this year that's led to Kahne crashing.
Busch didn't speak to reporters at Darlington after the race but talked Friday about his discussions with Kahne since the incident. He defended his actions as he and Kahne raced side-by-side for the lead.
"Last week was just hard racing," Busch said. "You’re in the last 30 laps, you’re past the last pit stop. It's all about track position. We were racing as hard as we could. He pulled a huge slide job on me in Turn 3 and I got back to his inside. I had been running down there on the flat all night.
"I had been passing lapped cars down there and some of my restarts were even that low on the racetrack. I didn’t think there was going to be a problem. When I got down there, I got tight and pushed up a little bit. Whether or not we touched, I think that’s insignificant because I’m not racing to wreck Kasey Kahne. He did crash because of me. It’s a part of hard racing at the end of the race."
Kahne was frustrated after the race, saying, "I don’t know what his deal is with me. If he would have just entered (Turn 1) normally, there would have been no issues and I would have been leading off (Turn) 2. He didn't want that to happen so he blew Turn 1. Whether he hit me or not, he still caused that whole deal with screwing up and just mind fade. He’s had a few of them this year when I’ve been around him."
Jimmie Johnson can relate to the issues Busch and Kahne are having. He's spoken with both of them.
"They’re frustrated," said Johnson, who's had run-ins with Kurt Busch ad Sterling Marlin. "It’s not like Kyle has an issue with him. It’s just been stuff. We’ve all been through it.
"It’s no fun when it happens. You just have to consciously get away. After one wreck, it wasn’t on purpose, you’re like, 'OK, no big deal.' Second one happens, 'Oh man, I really honestly didn’t mean to do it.' If it goes to a third time, you’re like, 'OK, if I see you coming I’m getting the hell out of the way.' You just have to try to make it stop that way."
The problem with Kahne and Busch is that they’re often at the front, so there’s no way to avoid tight racing.
"You run up-front and try for wins in the last 30 laps, and you’ve got to give it everything," Busch said. "You're not there to roll over and let a guy go. If I would have let him go (at Darlington), I don’t know that I could have gotten back by him. It was a little difficult to pass and he seemed to have a good car on the long runs, so I knew that protecting my spot is what I needed to do at that particular point."
Busch said during his discussion with Kahne that should they get together again, he doesn’t think things will escalate.
"I don’t think Kasey is that kind of guy," Busch said.