Kyle Busch apologizes to TRD
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kyle Busch has apologized to Toyota Racing Development for comments made about TRD engines following Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Dover.
TRD president Lee White took offense to Busch's remarks after Busch settled for seventh in a race that was determined by fuel mileage.
"Thank you, TRD,'' Busch said over his in-car radio. "F----- us out of another one. Piece of s--- mother------.''
Busch apologized Thursday for his comments.
"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."
White told SiriusXM NASCAR radio Wednesday that the No. 18 team made the decision before the race to go with horsepower over fuel mileage.
"We understand Kyle's passion for racing -- and winning. At TRD and Toyota, we have that same zeal for racing -- and winning," White said Thursday. We were disappointed with Kyle's post-race comments from Dover -- a race that he dominated.
"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. 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. Winner Brad Keselowski went the final 89 laps without stopping for his second win in three Chase races.
White told SiriusXM he and others at Toyota took Busch's comments personally, again reminding it was crew chief Dave Rogers who opted to go with horsepower over fuel mileage in the engine setup. He also reminded that Clint Bowyer won the final race of the regular season at Richmond on fuel mileage with a TRD engine.
"Granted, they had to push the car to Victory Lane, but they won that race because of TRD and Toyota's fuel economy,'' White said on SiriusXM. "They did the same thing at Sears Point, too.
"It gets a little lost in all this vitriol and dialogue, but that's the history. It's proven history, and it's documented history.''
Toyota offers teams, as other manufacturers do, different "lean maps'' to choose from, ranging from full power, full spark to all-out horsepower depending on how the team believes the race will play out. It is up to the team to decide.
None of the Toyota teams chose to run lean at Dover. Rogers and Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin, admitted that was the reason they fell short.
"You can definitely do some tuning with your fuel map -- that's an option,'' Rogers said after the race. "We were running more aggressive on power. There were some options to save fuel, but we were on max power today. It bit us a little bit.
"We could have made some different choices. Every now and then you have a fuel mileage race. I didn't think this was going to come down to it, so we went full power. I'm not going to second guess our call. It was the right call. The car was fast."
Hamlin finished eighth with a car that was running in the top three because he had to pit late and fell 16 points behind Keselowski in the Chase hunt.
"It's so frustrating,'' Hamlin said after the race. "It's like all the hard work that you do -- it just doesn't pay off. Same thing at Richmond. We just didn't have the fuel mileage. We choose to have the horsepower over the fuel mileage and some guys don't tune that way.
"When you have a race-winning car, you don't want to give up any of the horsepower. It's frustrating.''
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.