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Busch bows out of triple pursuit

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          NASCAR NEWS - Thursday, June 19, 2008

Busch bows out of pursuit of all three different titles
'Not worth trying to catch up' in Nationwide Series points
By Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM

Sprint Cup Series point leader Kyle Busch has abandoned any 
hope of competing for two NASCAR national touring division 
championships, which he had attempted through the most 
recent weekend. 

Busch's name is listed on the preliminary entry list for 
this weekend's Nationwide Series Milwaukee 250 at The 
Milwaukee Mile, in a No. 10 Braun Racing Toyota, but a 
Braun spokesperson said Busch would remain in Sonoma, 
Calif., for this weekend's Sprint Cup event and not travel 
to Milwaukee. 

Five other drivers -- Nationwide Series leader Clint 
Bowyer, David Reutimann, defending series champion Carl 
Edwards, David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose -- will make the 
trip from Sonoma to compete in Milwaukee.

But on TNT's Sunday pre-race show at Michigan International 
Speedway, Busch said he had given up on continuing to race 
for the Nationwide Series championship, in which he's 
competed in the first 16 races -- the last two weekends 
going to great lengths to run two races in both Cup and 
Nationwide in four different states. 

"We are so far behind in the Nationwide stuff it's not 
worth trying to catch back up," Busch said of his fifth-
place standing, 243 points behind Bowyer. "Clint Boywer 
is pretty good and such a consistent driver that it's 
too hard to catch back up, so we aren't going to stress 
ourselves trying to make it. 

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"We are just going to have fun now and win the races and 
not stress on getting to where we've got to go."

Busch had never intended to compete for the Craftsman 
Truck Series drivers' title, but after the first 10 races 
in which Busch has run eight times and won twice in owner 
Billy Ballew's No. 51 Toyota, that truck is second in the 
owner standings, only eight points behind Johnny Benson's 
owner, Bill Davis. 

On Sunday morning at Michigan, Joe Gibbs, the owner of 
Busch's primary ride, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 
in the Sprint Cup Series, had said he saw no issues with 
Busch's globe-trotting antics and that, in the end, 
common sense would rule. 

"As young as [Busch] is I think he has a great enthusiasm 
for all of that," Gibbs said. "Every now and then you run 
across someone like that. Tony [Stewart, another JGR 
driver] is a little bit that way -- they want to race 
everything. That's when they're happy [and] they get a 
thrill out of it.

"I don't sense that it wears [Busch] out and I don't 
think Steve [Addington, Busch's crew chief] has sensed 
that there is anything there that would detract from 
his Cup effort and certainly I don't think that it 
has. I think it's just one of those things where some 
of the guys want to be in a car every chance that they 

Two weekends ago, Busch flew to Texas on Friday night 
after qualifying his Sprint Cup car at Pocono and 
finished second in the Truck race. That Saturday, he 
crashed his primary Cup car in practice, then flew to 
Nashville for Nationwide qualifying and a race, in 
which he finished 20th. On Sunday, he crashed his Cup 
car and finished last. 


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Busch started his Michigan weekend by finishing seventh in 
the Truck Series race on Saturday afternoon, then flew to 
Kentucky for the Nationwide race, in which he crashed and 
finished 30th. He then returned to Michigan, where he 
finished 13th, extending his lead in the Sprint Cup stand-
ings to 32 points over Jeff Burton. 

Gibbs said everything Busch has done, including four wins 
in Sprint Cup and four more in Nationwide action between 
JGR and Braun Racing, is a revelation to him and his 

"I don't think anybody would've dreamed that this would've 
happened -- I don't think there is anybody standing here 
that would've," Gibbs said. "We're really proud of [Busch] 
and everything he's done. We're excited about where we are 

Busch's decision nullified anything he and JGR management 
would have had to decide later in the season, but Gibbs 
also said he wasn't concerned about it. 

"I think it would just be a common sense discussion," 
Gibbs said on Sunday morning. "I think that obviously 
over [in Sprint Cup] a lot goes into this. A lot of 
people count on him -- obviously our sponsor and every-
thing. You wouldn't want to do anything that would run 
the risk of jeopardizing what we have over here." 

Mike Bliss is scheduled to take Busch's place in Ballew's 
truck this weekend at Milwaukee, and a Ballew Motorsports 
spokesperson said the rest of Busch's schedule for the 
remainder of this season is yet to be determined. 


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That comes in the aftermath of a clash on the last lap of 
Saturday's Truck Series race at Michigan. Busch hit former 
championship leader Ron Hornaday on the last lap and 
knocked him from the top five to 23rd at the finish. 

In the garage area, Hornaday and truck owner Kevin Harvick 
angrily confronted Busch, who did not make any public 
comments about the finish, although Hornaday said plenty. 

"I knew he was coming. He had the outside or the inside -- 
he just drove into me," Hornaday said. "He just drove into 
me because he got mad because I took us four-wide and 
passed him cleanly. Halfway through the race, he showed 
me he was upset because he lifted the back of the truck 

"If he is going to race that way that is pretty chicken -- 
he doesn't deserve to be a racer. He has a lot of talent, 
but that is just flat stupid. If Billy Ballew needs a 
championship that bad for owners, he has the right driver.

"I don't knock any other driver, but I will tell you what, 
that kid has just about done wore me out. I don't know if 
I have to give up this championship to teach him a lesson 
-- I hope I don't hurt him, because if Joe Gibbs lets him 
do this, I am ashamed for them. 

"I tried to talk to him as a friend. He is just out there; 
I don't know what it is. I guess it is an ego trip and if 
he is going to wreck me every week, I guess we are going 
to have to do it back to him." 

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