Busch-Harvick feud won't die

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:53 PM ET

BROOKLYN, MICH. - Now that Kyle Busch is off his four-race probation for his pit-lane run-in with Kevin Harvick back at the Southern 500 at Darlington last month one might expect he’ll be a kinder, gentler driver at Michigan International Speedway this week.

You might even think that Busch would avoid any more feuding with any of the Richard Childress Racing cars after he was attacked by the team owner two weeks ago at Kansas.

Well you would be wrong on both counts.

Busch said on Friday that he doesn’t plan to change his rough and tumble style of racing one iota now that he is a free man, so to speak.

In fact when asked point blank how much being freed from the NASCAR probation shackles would change his driving Busch answered: “Zero.”

It is actually somewhat baffling that Busch is vilified week after week by NASCAR fans for doing the same things on the race track that made Dale Earnhardt an icon in the sport.

In any event Busch makes no excuses for doing whatever it takes, probation or no probation, to win in stock car racing’s top series.

“I try to race the best I can each and every week, as hard as I can and as clean as I can,” he said before Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s Helluva Good Sour Cream Dips 400. “Sure, sometimes there’s a time where you get into somebody or you get loose and you get into them and you spin them and they’re mad at you.

“There’s no malicious intent involved in it. It’s just a product of racing. Hopefully we can keep racing that way.”

Busch is aware, however, that Harvick has let it be known that he, at least, still owes Busch one from their last contretemps and he showed that at Pocono last week when he ran the No. 18 Toyota toward the wall on the final lap in that race.

“I’m not expecting anything at anytime, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen,” Busch said. “It’s fine with me. It’s not my problem.

“I race my race car and he drives his.”

Busch said he actually tried to stay away from Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet at Pocono.

“Yeah, when you’re getting pushed down the front straightaway all the way to the bottom of the race track you’re trying to

get away from the situation,” he said. “He (Harvick) kept following me so I backed off and waited for my next opportunity to pass him and then when I did pass him, he then pushed me all the way down the frontstretch.”

But he said that patience is something, in his case, that has a limited shelf life. And he can’t guarantee he will be as composed on Sunday at MIS.

“(Patience) is a lot easier to have earlier in the race than it is at the end of the race,” Busch said. “If it was for a win, it would certainly be a heck of a lot harder to do than if it’s for a fifth or sixth or a something like that. I’ve learned a lot. I think it will be a lot different.”

The Busch-Harvick feud has an effect on other drivers, with the prospect of a wreck between the two of them ending up wrecking other cars as well.

Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said Friday that he will certainly be keeping an eye on both Busch and Harvick on Sunday.

“It’s not that I’m sitting there expecting something to happen, but I just want to be able to choose directions and not drive into whatever takes place,” Johnson said.

“I’ve had my eye on those two for a while like everyone else has so I don’t see it being a lot different than that. I don’t know where Kevin’s mind is at or if he mentioned that (Busch) had one coming. I have no clue what’s going to happen, but I’m sure we’ll all be very entertained.”

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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