Apology? Yeah, right.
"I race guys how they race me and I've always gotten raced really, really hard against David Reutimann, and I've gotten no room, no slack, no nothing," Busch said Friday at Auto Club Speedway. "Why would I apologize to a guy that races me like a [jerk] every week? There's no point."
The dustup started early in last week's race at Kansas when Busch got into the back of Reutimann and caused him to spin out. Reutimann remained in the race and when he was next to Busch again, about 100 laps later, sent the No. 18 car into the wall with a retaliatory bump.
The second incident damaged Busch's car and his title chances, dropping him from seventh to 21st in the race and from third to seventh in the Chase.
"Obviously, there was malicious intent involved in what he did and had it happened a little differently than what it did, who would have known what could have happened," Busch said. "Obviously, he was trying to spin me out and he missed, and caused some other damage. If he would have spun me out, who's to say at that speed I couldn't have gotten upside down or something down the backstretch?
The incident sparked fresh debate on a hot-button issue: whether drivers not eligible for the title should race drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship any differently.
For most drivers, the answer is no.
"I think everybody needs to race us as hard as they can," said Kevin Harvick, third in the Chase, 30 points behind Sprint Cup leader Jimmie Johnson. "Everybody will race everybody with respect and obviously if you feel like you've been done wrong, then you are going to handle it however you think it needs to be handled."
The general rule on the circuit, as Busch said, is drivers race how they want to be raced. Race hard but fair, that's what you'll receive in return. Get a little too aggressive, well, keep an eye on your mirror.
"It's all respect," said Chase driver Clint Bowyer. "It's no different than you working in an office. If you show respect and give respect, you're going to get it back. There has to be respect and if there's not, things are going to happen."
Most of the time, though, it's not just a one-time flare-up. Someone gets into the back of you once, maybe you let it slide. Do it several times over the course of the season and retaliation is likely around the next left turn.
"That whole deal that went down last week wasn't just about what happened last week. It was what happened throughout the year," fellow driver Jeff Burton said. "When you feel like somebody doesn't respect you and doesn't show you respect and then they get into you whether they meant to or not, there's a different level of thought process."