Friday, May 6, 2011
Updated: May 7, 11:42 AM ET
Kurt Busch says rant helped
By David Newton
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Kurt Busch says his profanity-laced tirade last weekend at Richmond International Raceway led to a restructuring at Penske Racing that will produce better cars.
"Instead of talking about it we're reacting to it," Busch said on Friday at Darlington Raceway.
Busch did a lot of talking at Richmond, saying over his in-car radio, "We look like a monkey f------- a football. The f----- Penske cars are a f------- joke."
Busch called out technical director Tom German and anybody else within shouting distance after watching his team drop from first to sixth in the standings over the past five races.
He said the reaction to his comments opened up the lines of communication to make changes necessary for improvement, specifically in the chassis.
"I feel like we've made great adjustments to what we're doing internally and that's to understand how to build a better car," Busch said. "There's been great feedback. Everybody is listening.
"Yeah, it wasn't the best forum to go out there Saturday night and talk about things. We've just in my mind seen things deteriorate and I've held it in and held it in and it wasn't the right spot to do so. Now with people listening I think we're going to make some good strides in trying to advance it."
Busch said the restructuring had to do more with communication than moving people around.
"This weekend here at the racetrack I see four engineers I haven't seen at the track -- ever," the 2004 Sprint Cup champion said. "I see them at the shop, but never at the track."
Busch was third-fastest in Friday's first practice before hitting the wall with a blown tire just before heavy rain came. He is optimistic that even in the backup car he'll be competitive for Saturday night's Southern 500.
"When you have communication there it works," Busch said. "When you have hard-headedness it doesn't work sometimes."
Busch said getting teammate Brad Keselowski, 28th in points, competing for top 10s and wins is key.
"It's up to all of us to make us better at the end of the day," he said.
Busch said there's always been an open door policy at Penske Racing, but "things just happen slowly sometimes." He acknowledged the cars haven't been up to par since early last summer after he won the All-Star race and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.
Things really deteriorated during the Chase when Busch had an average finish of 17.8 over the final 10 races.
"When you see things from the cockpit you notice how fast things go and where you're struggling," Busch said. "And if it's a common theme, yet you continue to knock on the same door and nothing is happening, then there are issues.
"We need to make sure egos are put aside. I feel like we have a great forum with the way things have opened up this week. It's not just being pushed under a rug now."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.