Kyle Busch seeks to diffuse row with Ryan Newman
18 July 2013
Kyle Busch has moved to take the heat out of a row with fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Ryan Newman, admitted that calling his rival an "ogre" was a mistake.
Tempers between the two flared following Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, after an incident which saw contact between Newman and Kyle's older brother Kurt put the #78 Furniture Row Racing car out of the contention for the race on lap 225 after having led a race-high 102 laps up to that point.
"The #78 was good, I really hated that Kurt got tore up," Kyle told a group of reporters after the race. "I felt like he had the best car here today," he said, adding that he had been "proud of them guys but, man, just stupidity.
"I mean, Ryan Newman's the biggest stupid idiot out here and he's a big ogre and can do whatever he wants because he can probably kick anybody's butt. So no sense in getting in a fight with him, but glad he's out of a job."
Before the weekend's race, it had been confirmed that Newman was to leave Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the season to make way for the incoming Kevin Harvick. Newman has admitted that he doesn't know where that leaves him in terms of a race seat for 2014.
Newman subsequently responded to Kyle Busch's comments in a radio interview on SiriusXM Radio.
"I'm just afraid if I re-arranged his face I might fix it," Newman laughed. "He's frustrated finishing third or wherever he was after hitting me first and then getting a little rub down the straightaway. Just imagine how I feel. It is what it is.
"We know that he's not very bright," Newman added. "He's a heck of a talent but he's not very bright. And I'll leave it at that."
But Newman did agree that there had been clashes between himself and the #18 earlier in the race. "I admit to [making contact with] Kyle down the straightway after he blasted me into the corner," he said. "I didn't crash him. He didn't crash me. I don't know what he's got to be mad about. Evidently he's got a bone to pick for some reason."
And Newman made it clear that he wasn't going to let this latest spat lie: "What comes around goes around. I didn't expect to get hit, but I remember who hit me."
That's a bigger problem for Busch, who is still on track to make the Sprint Cup Chase but who can ill-afford being wrecked in one of the remaining regular season races before the Chase cut-off in September. Newman, on the other hand, has little to lose as he's well out of the top ten and won't be back with the team next season.
"After his comment about me not having a ride, it seems like he has way more to lose than I do," Newman pointed out. "If he's going to run his mouth, he better be able to back up running his mouth."
A few days reflection along those lines might have been part of the reason Busch took to Twitter to clarify his comments and seek to turn down the heat on the row with Newman.
"I want to clarify that I was answering what I felt was two separate questions asked to me at the same time in an interview following the race in Loudon," Busch wrote. "The first was about how fast Kurt was and the second was how I felt about Ryan Newman blaming me for him getting wrecked.
"First I answered the Kurt part. He was fast," he said. "Great to see them running well ... Was a shame to see him crashed ... Nowhere there did I place blame on who wrecked who. I didn't see it and I still haven't seen it.
"My second answer came from being upset over an incident I had with [Newman] on the track during the race. I answered it in the same response, but it was intended as a completely separate answer," he insisted. "I was upset because I felt [Newman] raced me poorly, making contact and causing damage to my [right front] fender that affected the handling on my racecar.
"This isn't the first time that I've been raced poorly by [Newman] either, which added to my frustration," he added. "All this built up and allowed my emotions to spill over for how I felt. I'm not sorry for how I feel in those moments, but could have expressed it better and certainly my comments about someone's livelihood went too far."
Whether Newman is in any frame of mind to let the matter rest at this point remains to be seen. The drivers have a little over a week to cool off before they're back in Sprint Cup action at Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400 on July 28.