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Saturday Dover Notebook; KyBusch & DaleJr

Kyle Busch explains his terse reaction to finishing second at Charlotte

Kyle Busch's post-race press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Sunday was six words long and ended with a mic drop.

After winning the pole for Sunday's AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway (1 p.m. ET on FS1), Busch explained his surly reaction to finishing second in the Coca-Cola 600.

Busch was going for a sweep of the Monster Energy All-Star Race and the 600. He was hoping to add the trophy from the race he considers one of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' three majors, along with the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.

"There were a lot of things riding on the line that meant a lot to me, that would have been special to me," said Busch, who already has a Brickyard victory to his credit. "I guess I should care less about those things and not show that sort of emotion.

"All in all, that's what was on the line for us, and we weren't able to achieve, so it was pretty disappointing."

It's not that Busch isn't self-aware. Like it or not, he simply shows what he's feeling in an unfiltered way.

"Certainly, different people show their emotions in different ways, and unfortunately for me, mine has never been very gracious, and I don't know that it ever will be," Busch said on Friday after time trials at Dover. "I'm kind of learning that as the days go on, when my son is two years old, I see where that came from. It's genetic. I'm sorry, that's just who I am. That's what I was given. If there's anyone to blame, it's probably the guy upstairs.

"I can probably get better and go to training and classes and everything else, but I don't know. It is the way it is. I've been fortunate enough to have been blessed to be in the opportunity that I'm in. I've got great partners and sponsors that are with me, and they've stuck with me through a lot worse than what happened this week. That's through relationships.

"Those people that are close to me understand me and know me and know who I am outside the race track as a personable person, as a friend. That's why I'm able to continue to have the relationships and the sponsorships that I do."

SIMULATOR WORK IS PAYING OFF FOR DALE EARNHARDT JR.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has always been a "gamer." He was one of the pioneers of iRacing, often spending hours online racing against armchair drivers across the globe.

Now Earnhardt is making full use of technology to up his game on the asphalt.

"We went to the simulator, which is something we've been trying to infuse into our process a little bit more," Earnhardt said after qualifying 11th on Friday at Dover International Speedway. "It's been bearing some fruit and helping us out and making us feel more confident going into the race weekends.

"We first really experienced that in Kansas and had a great practice the first day. Same thing here, we went to the simulator, picked a few things we liked, threw out some stuff that didn't work."

That's one of the main efficiencies of simulator work - eliminating ideas that won't work before the car gets to the track.

"We come to the race track and we unload, and there is obviously going to be some comments about the car that we want to fix," Earnhardt said. "We know what not to mess with that is going to waste a lot of practice time, and we can just hit the things that we thought we liked in the sim.

"They correlated really well today (in Friday's practice). We got the car better in race trim. We only made one change and then swapped over really quick (to qualifying trim). Then for qualifying, we improved the car each run... I'm really happy. We've been working, trying to get better."

SHORT STROKES

Kyle Busch followed Friday's pole-winning performance by topping the speed chart in Saturday morning's early practice session at Dover International Speedway. With a fast lap at 158.040 mph, Busch edged Ryan Blaney (157.929 mph) for bragging rights in the session. Jamie McMurray, however, had the fastest 10-consecutive-lap average, an impressive 156.448 mph from Lap 2 through 11 of the 53 circuits he ran. Chase Elliott ran the most laps in the session - 56...

McMurray's Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Kyle Larson, paced final practice with a lap at 157.411 mph in a session where the top eight drivers all exceeded 157 mph. Ten-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson was second fastest at 157.301 mph, indicating the seven-time champion will be strong in race trim on Sunday despite a 14th-place qualifying effort.

--- NASCAR Wire Service ---