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Agent kept Kyle Busch in dark during contract extension talks

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Kyle Busch says his previous agent hampered negotiations to keep him at Hendrick Motorsports.

Just from what I know, negotiations were going well, then they weren't going well, then we started getting back on track. Then Junior announced his availability and then that's where we kind of stalled out again.

Kyle Busch


The 22-year-old driver said on Friday that Alan Miller kept him in the dark about many things during talks to sign an extension beyond next season and that he was surprised initially to learn Dale Earnhardt Jr. had been signed to replace him.

Among the things was the number of other organizations expressing an interest in Busch, which team owner Rick Hendrick said had a negative impact on discussions.

"My previous representation didn't inform me that he was getting calls," Busch said before practice at Michigan International Speedway. "Then I guess that was opened up to Hendrick Motorsports. They sort of got upset.

"Do I feel I got pushed out? No, for the way negotiations were going -- wasn't going well, then it was, then it wasn't again -- I think I could do better somewhere else. That's the way we felt," he said.

But Busch added that it was no coincidence that negotiations took a final turn for the worse when Earnhardt announced he was leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. after this season.

"Just from what I know, negotiations were going well, then they weren't going well, then we started getting back on track," Busch said. "Then Junior announced his availability and then that's where we kind of stalled out again.

"I'm not stupid. You guys aren't stupid. It's kind of common sense, I guess," he said.

Miller, who was at MIS representing other clients, was disappointed in Busch's comments.

"I've been doing this for a long, long time," said Miller, who has represented HMS drivers Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears, to name a few. "My reputation is as good as anybody's. I'm not going to dignify what Kyle said with a response.

"I'm sorry Kyle chose to say something like that," Miller said.

Busch was given a release from the final year of his contract next season at HMS on Monday. He was joined at MIS by his new agent, Bruce Kempton.

Kempton said he's had calls from just about every organization in the Nextel Cup garage. Officials at DEI, Ginn Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Evernham Motorsports have expressed an open interest.

EMS owner Ray Evernham told Busch personally after the two competed in a dirt track event on Thursday night that he was prepared to expand his organization to four teams if they could reach an agreement.

Evernham currently has Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler signed to multiyear deals and says he plans to re-sign Scott Riggs, whose deal expires after this season.

"He's got a lot on his mind and he's got a new agent," Evernham said of Busch. "Quite honestly, I just said at least talk to us before you make a decision. That's all I asked him."

Evernham isn't concerned with Busch's fiery attitude and aggressive style that sometimes puts him at odds with other drivers, reminding he worked with a young Jeff Gordon when Gordon once irreverently bowed to Richard Petty.

"Kyle Busch isn't the first guy that has acted up," he said. "Go back and look through history. When they start showing those tapes of guys throwing helmets and guys kicking cars and guys shaking their fists at other people, there's a pretty long list of people that have won championships doing that.

"But I also know he's 22 years old and a tremendously talented driver. I've worked with other drivers through that period and I would like to have a shot at that again," he said.

Busch said he's flattered by all the attention he's getting, reiterating he didn't know all the possibilities that existed during negotiations at HMS.

"It wasn't discussed to me some of the things that probably should have been, so I was out of the loop," he said. "So I'm very ignorant when it comes to that kind of stuff because I wasn't informed."

Busch said he would like to stay in a Chevrolet but added that he's not married to the manufacturer.

Evernham, who is represented by Dodge, said that bond could be hard to break.

"Right now, Chevrolet is a pretty tight manufacturer with all of their drivers," he said. "All we can do is lay out the program compared to what else is available to him and see what he thinks of it."

Busch, 10th in the points standings, said his primary focus is trying to win a title for HMS this season.

But he is concerned there could be some backlash as there was last season when Brian Vickers was kept out of team meetings after he announced he was leaving HMS for Toyota's Team Red Bull.

"I hope it doesn't come to that, but given the circumstances it probably will," Busch said. "I'm close enough to the notebook that I know what's going on. I know what's in the car. I can look at stuff and see exactly what it is.

"I'm not retarded. I know pretty much a race car from the ground up. I hope it doesn't come to that," he said.

Busch also hoped it wouldn't come to him leaving HMS.

"I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would leave Hendrick Motorsports and go a different venture," he said. "Neither did Kurt Busch when he joined Roush Racing."

Busch was referring to his older brother, who left Roush Racing after the 2005 season to join Penske Racing.

Unlike that separation, Busch said his was a mutual and pleasant agreement.

"I was 17 when I was first talking to Mr. Hendrick and signing my deal with Mr. Hendrick," he said. "I've had the greatest time and the utmost respect for him and everything around his organization he's put me with.

"I look forward to going out and seeing what I can accomplish somewhere else," he said.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.