Kurt Busch, JJ settle things the right way

June, 22, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson could have taken shots at each other following Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway. Busch may have had every right to take a swing at the three-time defending champion after he clipped him on Lap 90 and sent him straight into the tire barrier in the ess turns to ruin a top-5 day.

Instead, they talked it out and shook hands.

That won't spike television ratings or increase Web site hits. It won't have people talking by the watercooler all week long as they would have had this been Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It was downright boring, to be honest.

But it was the right way to resolve their issues even if this isn't a gentleman's game like golf.

Johnson went directly to Busch after the race to apologize. He didn't wait to text or call him, which some drivers do. That only gives the anger time to fester.

He simply walked over to Busch's hauler before changing into street clothes and explained what happened.

"It was just a racing deal, nothing more," Johnson said.

We've seen racing deals turn into outright shouting matches in the past. We've seen them turn into fisticuffs.

Five or six years ago, Busch may have let his temper get the best of him and done something stupid.

We may have been waiting for a fine.

But the drivers worked it out and that was the end of it.

"He hit the curb and just launched into us," Busch said. "It was just two champion drivers going after the same spot."

Busch went on to salvage 15th. Johnson finished fourth.

It won't linger until next week at New Hampshire, where Busch is the defending champion.

Maybe racing is turning into a gentleman's game.

Nah, somebody will lose their cool next week.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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