Retaliation to Chase forefront at Kansas

October, 7, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The question for Kurt Busch was simple: Did little brother Kyle get what he deserved from David Reutimann on Sunday at Kansas Speedway?

The answer wasn't so simple.

The 2004 champion explained how he's been on both sides of the "non-Chase driver wrecking a Chase driver" issue. He recalled how in 2005, non-Chaser Scott Riggs wrecked him on the third lap of the Chase opener at New Hampshire, basically taking him out of contention to defend his title before he began.

His conclusion?

"Being in the Chase doesn't protect you from guys slamming into you," Kurt Busch said Thursday during a stop at NASCAR's Hall of Fame to promote next week's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "The times I've been in run-ins, it's easier to try and discuss things and really get each person's perspective from it with a discussion.

"If there still is a conflict, have at it. Let's wreck some cars."

In other words, Reutimann could have talked things over with Kyle before deciding that an earlier incident between the two was just cause for retaliation.

"If the talk didn't go well, then maybe you come back and retaliate later on when the spotlight is not on you," Kurt continued. "If you get wrecked in that race, NASCAR is always looking for you to do something in that same race. I think Reutimann could have done a different job."

Kurt gave us something else to think about, too. He reminded us that when Riggs wrecked him in 2005, there was speculation that was payback for an incident between the two at Indianapolis.

Now consider what Kurt said about Riggs after that race. Remember? "There are guys you race with, there are guys you can't. He [Riggs] doesn't really know where he is most of the time."

Sounds kind of like what we heard in August when Kyle questioned Reutimann's talent after the Bristol race. That sparked a war of words and likely had Reutimann on a short rope when it came to tolerance of anything involving Kyle.

"It all comes down to we don't like each other very much," Reutimann said the ensuing week. "It's been [going on for] a while. We just don't like each other, and we agree that we don't like each other and we're fine with it. We're pretty honest about it. I'm good with it."

In other words, when Kyle saw Reutimann loose ahead of him at Kansas, he should have known better than to get close enough to make contact. And after there was contact, he should have expected Reutimann to take some action.

"The spotter should have told Kyle [that] Reutimann was coming, and if Kyle wanted to get out of the way, he could have yielded to him then," Kurt said.

But there's more to this story. Reutimann complained earlier in the week about having potentially good finishes this year ruined by other drivers who have run over him. He said "sometimes you just have to do things to make people see what was once deemed acceptable is no longer acceptable."

Said Kurt, "If he's continuously getting run over, then he's a common denominator."

"I ran over him at Richmond because [when] he drove into the corner I thought he was giving me the bottom lane. I drove in to make a pass, and first thing you know we're together.

"He's setting the tone 'You can't push me around.'"

So did Kyle get what he deserved?

"It's racers being racers," Kurt said. "It's not every day that cars are running into each other, so when guys are running into each other, it's good to talk about. It's good for our sport."

Kurt then looked over his shoulder at the row of famous cars on Glory Road, from the black No. 3 that was driven by Dale Earnhardt to the No. 11 once driven by Darrell Waltrip.

"Everybody in here on top of this row has had their run-ins with other drivers," Kurt said. "It's what makes our sport what it is today. The fierce rivalries, the competitiveness, the fire you have to be a champion and to be a winning driver -- you're going to have conflicts.

"That's part of our sport."

Told you it wasn't simple.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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