Wednesday, October 03, 2012

TRD's Lee White: Busch Comments Like "Hammering An Entire Culture In The Face"


TRD President Lee White
Toyota Racing Development president Lee White said he is unhappy with comments made by Kyle Busch following Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway, saying he took those comments “a little bit personally.”
 
At the drop of the checkered flag, Busch unleashed a torrent of expletives over his in-car radio, calling TRD “piece of s#*t mother@$%&ers. Thanks a lot, TRD for @$%&ing up another one,” he said.
 
White called the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, “an amazing talent behind the wheel” and “extremely passionate about what he does. When he leads a gazillion laps in a race and has it in hand, it breaks his heart when he doesn’t win.
 
“But frankly, it breaks our hearts too,” he said. “We’re as aware and engaged in this sport as he is.”
 
White revealed that Busch fell short on fuel mileage Sunday at least in part because of a decision he and crew chief Dave Rogers made prior to the race.
 
“We have four lean maps that teams can choose from,” explained White. “They range from full power/full spark/all the horsepower you can get, down to Lean One, Lean Two and Lean Three. Depending on the circumstances the crew chiefs and drivers think the race may play out to, they make a choice (on fuel mapping). We don’t decide that, crew chiefs and drivers make that choice.
 
“Nobody running a Toyota engine in that race ran a lean map at any level,” he revealed. “Not a single one of our crew chief/driver combinations made the choice (to run lean) at Dover. Not one.
 
Busch (L) and White in happier times
“However, if you go back to Richmond, Brian Pattie and Clint Bowyer decided before the race that they were going to run Lean Three, to keep from burning off the rear tires. It became a fuel mileage race, and they won it. Granted, they had to push the car to Victory Lane, but they won that race because of TRD and Toyota’s fuel economy. They did the same thing at Sears Point, too.
 
“It gets a little lost in all this vitriol and dialogue, but that’s the history,” White said. “It’s proven history, and it’s documented history.  
 
“Do we want (Kyle) to just laugh it off? No,” he said. “We want people to be upset, we want them to ask questions and get into the competition meetings… and ask, `What could we have done differently?
 
“Can we be better? Absolutely. Are the Dodge guys – Brad Keselowski and Paul Wolfe – doing a really good job? You’re damned right, they’re doing a great job. They’ve got something going on. Early on at Dover, they weren’t that fast. They were already on that (fuel mileage) strategy, hoping that the race would fall to them. And it did.
 
“It fell right in their laps, and more power to them.”
 
White insisted, however, that Busch was not justified in his profanity laced tirade against TRD.
 
“That doesn’t excuse taking TRD and several hundred thousand people around the globe (to task),” he said. “We’re not just one little tiny deal here. We’re part of a much greater entity called Toyota. We are a global company and we represent every one of those (Toyota) associates, in the dealerships, the factories, in sales, promotion, shipping… you name it, all around the globe. They’re all passionate about what we do. They wear our successes and failures on their sleeves, so when you have a tirade like that; it’s not just hammering 244 TRD associates in the face. It’s hammering an entire culture in the face.
 
“I’m sorry, but I take that a little bit personally.”
 
While stressing that TRD and Toyota do not hire or fire drivers, White said the incident is “something we’ll be talking about with Coach Gibbs.”
 
He also said the outburst could impact the company’s future support of Busch. “Historically, we’ve had a great relationship with Kyle. Not only as a driver and team partner of his (at JGR), but we also support his Truck and Nationwide teams to a fairly significant level. There’s a business relationship there, as well, and someone other than myself will have to get into that as we move forward.
 
“I’m confident that we’ll sort that all out over a period of time.”
 
White stopped short of saying Busch has permanently damaged his relationship with Toyota and TRD, saying, “This isn’t the first time it’s happened. People are used to it, and to some degree, they say, `Aw, it’s just Kyle,’ then turn around and walk away.
 
“Everybody here is competitive,” he added. “We’re in an environment where all the teams, all the drivers, every man, woman and child is as competitive as the day is long. We’re extremely proud and happy to be part of it, and this is one of the burdens we all bear.
 
“We’re smart people, we’re ethical people, and we’ll work our way through this and do our darndest to make sure we handle this in the best possible way for ourselves, for our brand, for our company globally… and also for Kyle and Samantha Busch, because they’re a part of our family, as well.”    



25 comments:

  1. Charlie11:13 PM

    Not a Kyle fan, but what he is saying is true. Blown engines & poor mileage cost him the chase this year. Gibb's had better engines last year. Worried that penske driver's may feel the same next year switching to Ford.

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    1. Charlie, there is no doubt that mechanical failures took their toll on Kyle this season. But the same can be said about Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, all of whom overcame their setbacks to make the Chase and (in the case of Hamlin and Johnson) contend strongly for the championship.

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    2. Anonymous4:20 PM

      Really,,,those drivers had 3 in row?

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    3. And it wasn't TRD that setup the car and engines including the fuel mapping for each race, its each team with the crew chief, car chief and the driver.

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  2. Anonymous11:18 PM

    EXCELLENT article.

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  3. Manitoba_Jay11:40 PM

    In my mind the question is should we be able to listen in on driver to crew communication.This is a news worthy story and the media has a right even responsability to cover it.The question is should we have heard it to begin with? If a driver or team member says something in an interveiw i hold them accountable but should they be accountable for whats said in a private conversation?I guess my biggest concern is it seems every week 1 or 2 drivers have an in car quote that over shadows the race.

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    1. Jay, how can a public radio frequency that is being monitored by thousands of fans at the race track and international radio and television networks possibly be characterized as "private?"

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  4. kyle bush is over rated. he always runs into the wall. thats not saying much about all the other drivers if everyone keeps saying he's the best wheelman in nascar. Next year he will be number 3 man at jgr if we want to go by proven records. expect more cry baby bush

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    1. Cody, please rein-in the name calling. We don't do that here. Thanks.

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  5. Mark Millet2:32 AM

    The worst part of this? Nobody is surprised. Kyle will never learn.

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    1. What is Kyle supposed to learn? That Toyota needs to stop with the centralized control and let the individual teams control their own individual engines?

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    2. Mark Millet3:03 PM

      No, he needs to learn not to bite the hand that feeds him. There is a time and a place for comments, and on a radio frequency with thousand of people listening in is neither the time nor the place. He may or may not have valid points, but they should be saved for behind closed doors instead of airing his frustrations publicly. One can learn a lot from your big brother, in the case of Kyle he should be learning how not to behave from Kurt, because before you know it, both of them will be running third tier rides. It sounds to me based on what Lee White said, and I fully admit I am reading into his comments, that he has one foot on a banana peel and the other out the door.

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  6. Anonymous9:25 AM

    Talent will never out run a piss poor altitude.

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  7. I think Kyle has a right to be angry about TRD engines this year. Fuel mileage aside he has had several engines let go. I don't agree with his language but I can understand his perceived frustration.

    What I think is a little more surprising is Lee White's comments. The 'I'm running to tell on you to Coach' attitude is about as equally off-putting to me as Kyles comments. How about also threatening KBM Truck and NNS teams as well?

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    1. He absolutely has a right to be upset, which I have said from the start.

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  8. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Looks like that pound of flesh is growing to a ton. From what I've read, Kyle didn't build the engines, Kyle didn't make the pit strategery (pun), yet you insinuate (above) because other drivers overcame adversity Kyle should have too? Wow. What appears to be happening here is the pushing over the cliff a career of a man whom everyone was hoping would crash and burn, and if some of the people who are 'commentators' can help push, go for it. Personally, I think you've gone for his throat and that's unfortunate. You shouldn't have that power.

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    1. There is not a single word of commentary in the article, "Anonymous." It is straight reportage of Lee White's comments. If you don't like what he had to say, take it up with Mr. White, not me.

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  9. Anonymous11:09 AM

    Dave, stop pointing things out! Now it'll be your fault that Lee White said those things too! For all of you "shoot the messenger" types, USA Today and other media outlets also reported on Lee's AND Kyle's comments. Its called "reporting".

    The engine failures for TRD have not happened at a greater rate than Hendrick motors. It's just Kyle being Kyle, but guess what, it's fair game to report on it!

    Kevin F.

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  10. Behind the wheel of a race car is highly emotional. I wonder to this day why these transmissions are public. Kyle is expressing his emotion which at the time just can't be controlled. I think he is in a rage that needs to be vented and if this works for him then it should be tolerated. Stop making it public and it will work it self out.

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  11. Maybe he needs to work on that rage issue. I can't help but think M&M's is probably not too happy about this whole thing either. The kid makes a lot of money, he needs to remember where it is coming from

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  12. jULS881:17 PM

    FRUSTRATION IS NOT FUN, BUT, PEOPLE NEED TO REMEMBER THE HANDS THAT FEED THEM.. THIS BUSINESS IS ABOUT THE MONEY, ALL THESE BIG GUYS SPEND. DRIVERS SHOULD BE ABLE TO VENT, BUT HANDLE THESE W PROFFESIONALISM, WORK TOGETHER..i BELIEVE HE SHOULD NOT THINK THAT HE WONT HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS HARSHNESS, yES, ITS JUST kYLE, DOING THE 2CD THING HE DOES BEST..DRIVING TALENT IS ONLY PART OF WHAT MAKES A GREAT DRIVER..

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  13. Anonymous1:59 PM

    Not sure what would change if the public could not rent scanners and listen. Even if the public could not listen in; the mfgs will, so would Mr White feel any different?
    I'll guess that there are 45-48 drivers who regularly compete in Sprint Cup. How many of those drivers are heard blowing up on the radio on a regular basis?
    I'm a long time IndyCar fan, and the fact there are 3 Hondas in the family is probably not a coincidence, as I support companies that support racing when I can.
    Reason I mention this, last night in the grocery checkout I reached for some M&Ms for my daughter, but I stopped. I have nothing against Mars Inc, but last night something stopped me from making that purchase.

    Robert Y
    Cincinnati

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    1. Anonymous7:34 PM

      And you, as such a paragon of virtue, have never sworn while driving your street car. Hypocrisy is no lesson to teach your daughter.

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  14. Being passionate and competitive does not dismiss your responsibility to be respectful.

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  15. Anonymous6:19 PM

    I feel that either Busch Brother has a hard time mataining and type of relationship for an extended amount of time and if I were a team owner I would not want them in my cars or any association with them at all , they are very talented by lack in professional courtesy , I have ask Ned Jarrett , Cotton Owens and other old timers if they had teams today who would be the driver and they all said Kyle and that suprised me . I am no fan but they are talented

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