Busch Fires Back at Jimmie
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
On Friday, Jimmie Johnson took to the microphone in the media center at Watkins Glen International race track to have his say about his problems with fellow driver Kurt Busch.
On Saturday, Busch stepped up to the microphone. His comments about Johnson and their on-track and post-race incidents at Pocono Raceway last weekend were considerably less angry than those of the five-time champion the day before.
The Busch Q and A with the media went like this:
After asked his opinion on what Johnson said, Busch replied, “When you said Jimmie was in here, I didn’t know if you meant (Jimmy) Spencer (who punched Busch in the face a couple years ago) or (Jimmie) Johnson.
“It’s one of those emotions that boiled over and I felt like the way that we raced each other on the track was what champions need to do. And that is to bring the cars home where they were running on track. Third and fourth is where we were and that’s where we crossed the line. Where we raced each other with a juke-and-jive and rubbin’, that’s racing. I was caught up in it this week following it. I talked to my dad about things and my dad was like, ‘well, that’s rubbin’. That’s racing, son. That’s how it works.’ He just gave me that confidence to know and he’s the one that taught me a lot about racing. Everything that I’ve done in racing is to try and make him proud. He’s like, ‘it’s rubbin’ is racing.’ I’m putting the “R” back in racing and rubbin’ is racing.”
Question: ANY CONCERN ABOUT THE EMOTION BETWEEN YOU AND JIMMIE MIGHT BE A FACTOR IN YOUR CHASE FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP?
Busch: “It can. I look at year’s past before the Chase points system was implemented, back in the early 90’s when you had Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki and Bill Elliott running that year. When that group starts to separate themselves on who’s going to run for the championship, just like years past with Rusty Wallace and Dale Sr., it was those two guys. You always seem like you have two or three guys, and then it got down just to two guys who were going to compete for the championship. I’d love to see that atmosphere. If we can perform well enough in the Chase and be in position to race Jimmie Johnson for the championship head-to-head, that would be wonderful. For the way the new points system was structured, it’s not really possible because you can’t just focus on one guy. There’s going to be 12 guys that make this Chase and every one of them has a shot at the championship. I feel like you just can’t focus on one, you’ve got 11 other guys out there.”
Question: WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT JIMMIE WAS THAT ANGRY LAST WEEKEND AFTER THE RACE? WHERE IS THE LINE FOR ‘RUBBIN’ IN RACING?
Busch: “He was very excited after the race and came over to my car in my pit area where we were parked and was really excited. For me, I think the line was when he swerved at us to break the draft, that’s not a move of a five-time champion. That’s the move of a guy that has had an issue with a guy like me. We’ve raced each other hard and I’ve been spun out and wrecked a few times. We both know that we look at each other very sternly. That’s great competition. That blends into rubbin’ is racing. When you have a history with a guy, you just don’t forget about it. I learned from one of the greats about how to keep a memory of who does you right or who does you wrong and that was Jimmy Spencer. He taught me a lot.”
YOU’RE BEING AWFUL NICE ON JIMMIE. WHAT ARE YOUR REACTIONS ON WHAT HE SAID ABOUT YOU? “It’s great. It means that I’m in his head and if I’m in his head, he’s got to worry about us running through this Chase.”
Question: DO YOU THINK THAT YOU AND JIMMIE WOULD HAVE HAD A DIFFERENT DISCUSSION IF YOU HAD MORE TIME AFTER THE RACE?
Busch: “If we would have run into each other in the motor coach lot afterwards, the adrenaline would have calmed down a bit and there would have been a better discussion. He’s was really amped up. He felt that I did him wrong. The response that we got from different people this week and the race fans, they said it was exciting and that’s what they wanted to see. That’s the intensity and passion that our sport is built off of. This is a bunch of guys running stock cars in the Southeast. This isn’t open-wheel racing where we’re supposed to pass each other clean and be leading by 10 seconds.”No Comment