Monday, August 25, 2014

COMMENTARY: Terrible Timing For Busch/Rogers Spat

Kyle Busch had rough go of it Saturday night, crashing his race car and clashing with crew chief Dave Rogers en route to a 36th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway that raised serious questions about their Chase-worthiness.

Busch’s evening got off to a promising start, as he surged from fourth place on the qualifying grid to lead the race. A pit road speeding penalty on Lap 63 derailed that early run, however, and forced him to restart at the rear of the field. He was soon swept-up in a multi-car crash with Brian Vickers, Kyle Larson and Clint Bowyer that damaged his M&Ms Toyota and triggered an intra-team clash that compounded an already difficult situation.

Rogers said he initially believed the damage to be confined to a cut left-rear tire and bent body panels. But when Busch returned to the track, he was well off his previous pace and complained bitterly over his in-car radio.

“You didn't fix the problem,” he said. “The suspension is broke.”
Busch eventually parked the car on pit road and walked away with 59 laps remaining, following another heated exchange with Rogers.

“I need a whole new right front suspension,” barked Busch. “I will be behind the wall in about two f#$%ing laps.”

Rogers responded in kind, saying, “Park it behind the truck and take your whiny little ass to the bus.”

Harsh words for Busch and Rogers
Busch was unavailable for comment after the race, choosing – perhaps wisely – to say nothing when he had nothing good to say. Rogers, meanwhile, was left to deal with the media by himself, blaming the dust-up on a simple lack of communication.
"I still don't know what happened," said Rogers to's Alan Cavanna. "We got into the fence and I could hear the spotter say the tires were up. I heard Kyle say something about right-front suspension, (but) I couldn't put it all together.
"I got frustrated with Kyle because I wasn't sure what he was saying. He got frustrated with me because I wasn't fixing the race car. It's Bristol, it's loud and a lot of things are going on."

Saturday night’s race marked the fourth consecutive finish of 36th or worse for Busch, a competitive collapse that has seen him fall from sixth to 17th in the championship standings. At a point of the season when most teams begin to peak, Busch and Rogers are plummeting, and their struggles have taken a toll on the team’s competitive dynamic.

“Everyone's frustrated," admitted Rogers. "It's been a long month (and) emotions overflowed like they always do at Bristol.” He downplayed the harsh words between himself and his driver, calling it “really no big deal."

Team owner Joe Gibbs called it "just pro sports," adding, "every now and then you get frustrated.”

Rogers: "He's still my buddy."
No matter how they downplay the situation, however, Saturday’s incident raises serious questions about the No. 18 team’s ability to compete for the 2014 Sprint Cup Series championship.

Traditionally, Busch has entered NASCAR’s postseason Chase as a favorite for the title, only to flame-out down the stretch amid a series of ill-timed crashes, mechanical failures and senseless feuds. He has finished in the Top-5 only twice in his nine full seasons of Sprint Cup Series competition, providing ample ammunition to those who insist he lacks the mental toughness to weather NASCAR’s frequent competitive storms. When things go bad, Busch often chooses to turn on his own team, pointing fingers and shouldering little of the blame.

Saturday night’s spat will do little to change that perception.

"If Kyle Busch wasn't passionate, I probably wouldn't work for him," said Rogers after the race. "If I wasn't passionate, Kyle probably wouldn't want me as his crew chief. You've got two passionate people that want to win more than anything, and sometimes that passion gets the best of you.

“Tonight (was) that night,” he insisted. “Kyle and I are fine. He's still my buddy, I love him to death and I'm very confident he'd tell you the same about me. It's such a small deal (and) it doesn't even factor into the Chase.

“The guys at Joe Gibbs Racing are busting their butts… building better and better cars. We have some really good cars sitting on jack stands, getting ready to go. We're saving our good stuff for the Chase."

Unfortunately, fast cars do not make up for a dysfunctional race team. Rogers and Busch have two weeks to patch things up before the start of the 2014 Chase, lest they find themselves once again on the outside, looking in.


  1. Anonymous1:19 PM

    It's Bristol. "You mad, Bro?" is a question that doesn't even need to be asked. Everybunny's mad. Even Kasey was yelling at his spotter. When does Kasey yell at anybody? Kyle is a little whiner tho'...
    Tommy form Lawn Gyland

  2. Charlie2:09 PM

    I believe Carl is looking for a good crew chief at JGR, good fit.

  3. Anonymous2:50 PM

    If you work "with" a busch brother you (& your staff) will be abused. (its how they were brought up) -Earner

  4. Debbie Grubaugh3:21 PM

    I think the only reason Kyle run the Nationwide and Truck series is he DOMIANTES those races and WINS ....... the ONE thing he CAN NOT seem to do in the CUP Series !! So maybe he needs to just race and run for Championships in the Nationwide and be happy down there !!

  5. What happened to the new Kyle? We are seeing the old Kyle. I wonder if a crew swap is coming and this is Kyle's way of lashing out over it.

    Let's hope it doesn't happen with Kurt also. 1 whining Busch is enough.

  6. Anonymous3:47 PM

    On the other hand, how many races this year has Rodgers not had a clue about the setup when the car rolled off the trailer. Is it Kyle's fault they don't qualify better? Is it Kyle's fault Boyer yet again wrecks another competitor? Is it kye's fault his engines can't produce the horsepower that Hendricks does? I'd rather have a fiery angry driver than someone who's simply satisfied with average.

    NASCAR, let's make milk the drink of the sport, because if more drivers don't get pissed at bad decisions, the sport fades into the sunset. America isn't wine and roses, it's whiskey and cactus. Get real.

  7. Anonymous4:27 PM

    ha, take your whiny little ass to the truck was the perfect comeback to the whiny ass driver of the 18. I agree with the poster who said expect to be abused if you work for/with a Busch - I think they were raised by wolves or at the least by people who never taught them any manners - at all.

  8. Anonymous2:11 AM

    I'm thinking Dave Rogers and Kyle and the rest are a TEAM!. Dave WORKS FOR Gibbs and sponsors, not Kyle. Sadly there has been a infusion of money for this "whiny ass" and Joe Gibbs and son have taken no responsibility whatsoever for this boorish behavior and don't seem to account full.check!. I feel bad for the people this clown yells at. Grow up Kyle.

    1. Anonymous9:39 PM

      I guess it's OK for Harvick to do the same and not incur your whiney rath? How about keselowski? Or is this another KB hate fest because he's an easy target thanks to NASCAR front paging his little tiff?

      You folks take the bait and NASCAR counts the advertisement clicks and page views.

  9. Anonymous5:05 PM

    I always thought Joe Gibbs was not only a great football coach, but also a great team owner. I am a Tony Stewart fan and have followed that team since Tony first came to drive for Gibbs. I now have doubts about Joe Gibbs. When is he going to realize Kyle Busch will NEVER win a Cup championship until he learns to take a bad day and turn it in to an alright points day. He would do well to take notes from the 48 and the 2. They seem to take what looks like a terrible day and sometimes come back to win the race. Kyle just gets pissed off and ends up wrecking the car.Screaming at your crew chief doesn't help him in figuring out how to make your car better. To all Kyle's fans, don't think that there is no way that he could lose is sponsors if this type of thing continues. Look what happened to Kurt when he was at Penske. P.S. at least Rick Hendrick was smart enough to get rid of Kyle, and I'll bet he has no regrets!!