Cup Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.

Published on August 25th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith


Busch Clashes With Crew Chief

Kyle Busch went into Bristol Motor Speedway with high hopes of turning around his current slump. Coming off of three consecutive finishes 39th or worse, Busch had to be looking forward to Bristol, a track he’s won at 16 times, including five Sprint Cup Series victories, seven Nationwide Series wins, and four Camping World Truck Series wins.

But after finishing 36th in the IRWIN Tools Night Race, those hopes were dashed, and there are serious questions about the cohesiveness of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team.

Busch started the day well, having qualified fourth he drove to the lead on lap 55. But, a pit road speeding penalty on lap 63 put him at the tail-end of the lead-lap cars.

On lap 125, Brian Vickers and Kyle Larson made contact in front of Busch causing him to check up. Clint Bowyer got into the back of Busch, sending Busch spinning down the track.

Busch missed the inside wall, slid back up the track and made contact with Aric Almirola, who was already spinning from contact with Vickers. Busch suffered left-rear damage, effectively ending his night.

Late in the race, Busch came over the radio to complain to crew chief Dave Rogers about his car.

Busch said:

I need a whole new right front suspension, a whole new right front suspension. I will be behind the wall in about two [expletive] laps.

Rogers, evidently having enough of Busch’s complaining, replied:

Park it behind the truck and take your whiny little ass to the bus.

Busch then parked his car on pit road, instead of taking it to the bus, as Rogers had told him.

After the race, Rogers chalked the exchange up to frustration, and said it wouldn’t impact his relationship with Busch. He said:

If Kyle Busch wasn’t passionate, I probably wouldn’t work for him. And if I wasn’t passionate, Kyle Busch probably wouldn’t want me as his crew chief. You’ve got two passionate people that want to win more than anything. And sometimes that passion gets the best of you. Tonight’s that night. Kyle and I are fine. He’s still my buddy, I love him to death and I’m very confident he’d tell you the same about me.

The team added that Busch and Rogers had a great talk and that everything is fine.

But, this isn’t the first time this season that Rogers and Busch have had a heated exchange over the radio. At Pocono Raceway in June, Busch had an exchange in which Busch insinuated that Rogers was working against him. Gibbs intervened telling Rogers that he an Busch needed to work together and use better language on the radio.

Busch replied:

If I had faster cars, I could be a happier person.

I’m sure their recent slump is frustrating them. Busch dropped from sixth in the Sprint Cup Series standings down to 17th in the last 4 races. If Busch and Rogers expect to contend for a championship, they need to find a way to get on the same page.

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About the Author

Michael J. Smith is a NASCAR enthusiast and blogger. In addition to founding this website, Michael is a journalist with over a decade of experience writing for prestigious media organizations.

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