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Sunday, September 20, 2009
Tryson only welcome at debriefing

Associated Press

LOUDON, N.H. -- Penske Racing crew chief Pat Tryson says he's only welcome at the race shop for the once-weekly debrief meeting.

Because Tryson is moving to Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of this season, the team does not want him present during any preparations for 2010.

"They want me to focus on this year's stuff and they've got stuff going on at the shop for next year, so they're going to work on that," Tryson said before Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I'll be communicating by e-mail and phones, and I'll be in there for driver debrief on Tuesdays.

"Tuesday is the only day I'm welcome."

It could make things difficult as Tryson and driver Kurt Busch attempt to win the championship this season. But Tryson says he's still committed to the No. 2 team, and can do a lot of his planning from home.

Busch, the 2004 Chase champion, finished sixth in the Chase opener and heads to next week's race at Richmond fifth in the standings behind leader Mark Martin. Busch led 33 laps but his race was marred by a pit road collision with David Ragan that slightly damaged the left front fender.

"We had a good car, we were a top-five car and you could throw a blanket over the five that finished up front," Busch said. "What hurt us the most was the accident on pit road ... just didn't make good adjustments at the end."

But Penske vice president of operations Mike Nelson said the team is striking the right balance by involving Tryson in this year's planning and keeping him from the shop during preparations for 2010.

"It really breaks down to 2009 vs. 2010. He's not there for the discussions that we have about 2010. That's a lot of what we're doing at the shop right now," Nelson said. "The 2009 stuff -- that's something that he needs to be involved with and there's no change in his involvement with Kurt. That's the meeting that Kurt comes in for on Tuesdays. We're trying to leave that part of it seamless.

"We're trying not to affect anything for 2009, it's just that it doesn't make any sense for him or for us to sit down and discuss what we're doing in 2010."

Tryson said he does not have permission to be at MWR the other days of the week so he can prepare for being Martin Truex Jr.'s crew chief next year.

"I'm still working for Penske, and that's all I'm worried about," Tryson said. "I'm just worried about winning the championship. You can do a lot of it via e-mail, so it's not that big a deal. The biggest thing is the lack of communication with the guys, seeing the guys."