NASCAR notebook: Busch gets the most out of a disastrous day
By: By Reid Spencer, Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kyle Busch expected retribution from David Reutimann — he just had an issue with the moment Reutimann chose to take his revenge.
On Lap 52 of Sunday’s Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway, Reutimann spun after a tap from Busch’s No. 18 Toyota.
On Lap 155, Reutimann clobbered Busch on the backstretch and damaged both cars. Kevin Harvick, who got an up-close view of the incident from the seat of his No. 29 Chevrolet said the accident looked like payback.
Busch is in the Chase. Reutimann isn’t. Clearly, Busch would have preferred for Reutimann to take his shot in a race that didn’t matter. On the radio, he urged NASCAR to take action against the driver of the No. 00 Toyota, but NASCAR saw the contact as merely a racing incident.
“The guy was loose — said it on the radio,” Busch said after the race. “He slid up off the bottom, and I got into him unintentionally and just spun him out. My fault 100 percent — but then the retaliation to a guy that’s in the Chase that’s racing for something.
“He’ll be here next year. He could’ve wrecked me in any of the first 26 races next year. That would’ve been fine. It’s just hard to swallow, a day like today where we had a solid top-five car going. (Crew chief) Dave (Rogers) did a phenomenal job getting us to where we could run up front and run those guys down and chase them down. … When we got it there, it just bent everything under the rear end.”
Despite the damage, Busch’s crew did an exceptional job keeping the car in the race. Busch finished 21st, the first car one lap down and minimized the damage to his title hopes. He leaves Kansas seventh in the standings, 80 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
Hamlin: ‘We didn’t panic’
Like Busch, Denny Hamlin and his crew kept their heads on an off day and stayed close to Johnson in the battle for the Sprint Cup championship.
Hamlin came to Kansas with a 35-point lead over Johnson but saw that disappear with a 12th-place finish to Johnson’s second in Sunday’s race. As the series moves to California, Hamlin trails the four-time champion by eight points.
“The good part is we didn’t panic and get ourselves into a wreck or something like that,” Hamlin said. “That’s the thing. It’s just you’ve got to make the most of your bad days, and if this is a bad day for us, we’re going to rebound next weekend. We’re going to just keep fighting. That’s all we can do.
“We had some different stuff than we typically had in our car for this race. I was a little bit worried about it in the beginning, (and) I knew right away we were going to have a long day. It was still a good fight for this team to rebound to 12th.”
Bouncing car clobbers Kahne
Kasey Kahne won the pole for Sunday’s race and led the first 27 laps, but from there the day went south.
The problem? A car that bounced so severely that it became uncontrollable. On Lap 164, Kahne spun hard into the Turn 4 wall, and a shredded left front tire moments later compounded his problems.
“I was bouncing pretty bad throughout the whole race and throughout practice (Saturday), really,” said Kahne, who finished 37th, 49 laps down. “We never got it fixed. I just got all mixed up. It wasn’t too bad when it first went green, because I was out in the open.
“I actually got loose in, and then tight, and then loose and spun out and hit the wall. I should have just slowed way down, and I didn’t. I just tried to get some more on that restart there (on Lap 160), and it didn’t work out.”
Though Kahne’s finish was disappointing, two of his Richard Petty Motorsports teammates scored top 10s: Paul Menard (eighth) and AJ Allmendinger (10th).