Busch apologizes for rant against Toyota
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Kyle Busch apologized Thursday to manufacturer Toyota for his profanity-laced rant about the fuel mileage at Dover.
Busch had to make a late stop in Sunday’s race that he believed cost him the win. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin also had to stop for gas, but winner Brad Keselowski in a Dodge and Jimmie Johnson in a Chevrolet got better mileage and didn’t have to stop.
Busch unleashed a string of profanities directed at Toyota on his in-car radio, and did not do media interviews after the race.
In a statement issued Thursday by both JGR and Toyota, Busch said his comments were ‘‘misguided.’’
‘‘I made some remarks out of frustration on my radio at the end of last weekend’s race in Dover that were very misguided,’’ Busch said. ‘‘I owe my friends at Toyota and TRD an apology. We have a great partnership with TRD and they built me a motor that helped me lead over 300 laps and nearly lap the field.
‘‘It’s just frustrating that the caution fell where it did and suddenly it became a fuel mileage race and we were set up for maximum horsepower. Obviously, that worked well for most of the day and you can’t control when the cautions will fall.’’
Busch has suffered several engine failures this season, and he missed a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by just three points.
Still, TRD president Lee White was not pleased with Busch’s comments Sunday.
But he seemed to understand Busch’s frustration in the statement released Thursday, but has pointed out that JGR chose to go with engines heavy on horsepower at the expense of fuel mileage at Dover
‘‘Kyle’s had a frustrating year with several car and engine mechanical failures which were not his responsibility, and we’re working extremely hard on our end to improve our products and processes,’’ White said. ‘‘We will continue to address these issues, but we’re ready to put this behind us and move forward with the remainder of the season, including the Toyota drivers battling for the championship.’’
Busch had to pit for fuel with 11 laps remaining after leading 302 of the scheduled 400-lap race. Keselowski went the final 89 laps without stopping for gas.
Team owner Joe Gibbs said in Thursday’s statement the organization appreciates its relationship with Toyota, and that Busch shouldn’t have cursed at the manufacturer.
‘‘Kyle recognizes that his comments and the tone of his comments were misguided. We've been able to work through this issue and I think everyone is ready to get back to the focus being on racing and Talladega,’’ Gibbs said.