Tony Stewart says that he and Kyle Busch talked on the phone for about 30 minutes earlier in the week, and that both were in agreement about their final-lap wreck at Daytona last Saturday-that it was not the way that anybody wanted things to work out but that it was racing, pure and simple. In other words, Them's the breaks.
But Busch apparently didn't come away with the same impression. Meeting with the media at Chicago yesterday, the Shrub got prickly. Claiming Stewart "dumped" him, Bush said, "I think NASCAR can take a step in looking at it, and if the second-place driver bumps the leader, then black-flag (him). He doesn't get the win."
I'm sorry, but how exactly did Stewart dump Busch? Kyle blocked Stewart's first move to the inside, but the second, to the outside, gave Stewart's car position. Busch, attempting a second block, then swerved up the track and hit Stewart's left front bumper with the 18 car's right rear quarter-panel. Busch, not Stewart, initiated the contact. Stewart, not Busch, had position, and did nothing but hold his ground. Is Busch kidding? Take a look for yourself.
The two drivers were in the final yards before the finish line, and their focus was totally on what was in front. Busch tried to block and missed, pure and simple.
So I'm left to wonder why this is an issue at all. And the conclusion I keep coming to is that Busch wants it to be an issue. More than ever before, it seems, he has decided this season to embrace his role as The Heel. He's got an opening to complain and be the bad guy and he is making the most of the opportunity.
Really it's of a piece with his behavior all season. He takes a tough beat in the Nationwide or Trucks series? He storms off or hangs around to do curt interviews with the press. Somebody asks him about the struggles of Dale Earnhardt Jr.? He takes shots at Junior. He finally wins a coveted trophy? He destroys it. Busch hasn't disappointed his detractors a single time. It's really rather remarkable.
So I guess it should come as no surprise that he has decided to take the low road now. Even when he knows he's wrong.
26: Cup points standing of Kevin Harvick
3: Consecutive finishes outside the top 25 for Harvick
14: Consecutive finishes outside the top 10 for Harvick
12: Consecutive finishes outside the top 10 for Harvick in 2002, the last time he suffered such an extended dry spell (he finished 21st that season)
First caller gets a throne, second caller gets a punch in the face.
Jimmie Johnson teaches folks how to be a winner. From the folks at Funny or Die.