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Kyle Busch Goes From Good to Bad in Jeff Burton's Book

May 31, 2010 – 1:22 AM
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Bob Zeller

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CONCORD, N.C. -- Only four days ago, Jeff Burton was singing the praises of controversial, colorful Kyle Busch.

After Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, Burton was ready to rip Busch's lungs out.

While older brother Kurt Busch was celebrating his first victory in NASCAR's longest race, Kyle was getting yelled at by Burton on pit road, punctuated by Burton's long finger, which he was pointing and jabbing in Busch's direction as he let loose a string of insults and threats. A couple of crewmen kept them separated.

Ah, but before we get to the Sunday quotes, let's review what Burton had to say about Busch during a press conference Thursday here at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"Kyle, in my view, has never been a guy that wrecks other people," Burton said. "There's been a lot of guys that came in trying to be aggressive that have been taking more people out than Kyle ever did in my opinion. I really like racing with Kyle. We've had some really good knock-down, drag-out races, and when it's over typically we're all cool with it. I really like racing with him. I like racing with Kyle; I really do. I know he's going to be aggressive and I know he's going to come at me, but I'm good with that."


During the final restart in Sunday's race, Busch went three-wide into turn one, with Clint Bowyer (Burton's teammate) on the inside, and Burton stuck on the outside. Busch and Burton touched and rubbed, and the contact cut down one of Burton's tires, forcing him to pit and dropping him to a 25th-place finish.

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"He's real aggressive. That's cool," Burton said after the race. "But when he starts affecting me with his aggressiveness, I just will not put up with it. I've been around here long enough. I just will not tolerate it."

Burton accused Busch of "making it three-wide ... trying to make something happen" on the restart.

According to Burton's account of what Busch said after the race: "First he said he didn't hit me. Then he said he got put there. Then he said he had to go. He was trying to defend himself and what he was saying wasn't making sense. That's OK. He was upset because I was yelling at him. He didn't mean to do it, but he's real aggressive and I don't mind that, but like I said, when it affects me, then I have a problem."

Said Busch, "He said I didn't race him very nicely. I have no idea what transpired there. I haven't seen the replay. What I remember was on the restart, the 33 car (Bowyer) ducked low ... and pulled to my inside. That forced me to the middle. ... I didn't get a whole lot of room. I was pinching the 33 as tight as I could, trying not to wreck him.

"I did the best I could. I don't know if I touched him or got into him. (but he) cut his left-rear tire. After the race he was just real mad at me. He said I didn't race him with enough respect, (and) if I'm not going to give him respect, he's not going to show me any.

"I said, 'Look, man, (it's the) last restart of the race. You have to go -- make some bold moves. It wasn't me that made it three-wide, it was your teammate.'

"Have a chat with him."

Filed under: Sports