Busch says time necessary before talk

Updated: July 14, 2009, 5:34 PM ET
Associated Press

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Kurt Busch is no hurry to talk to Jimmie Johnson after some late-race bumping last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

On the second day of tire testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Busch said he'll wait until next week to talk to NASCAR's three-time defending Cup champion.

"I just feel like the way things went down and that we're on totally opposite ends, we need a little bit more time to go by and we'll talk to each other at Indy," Busch said Tuesday. "I'll reach out for him."

Both will be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway leading up to the Allstate 400 on July 26.

At Chicagoland, Johnson lost his lead to Denny Hamlin late in the race and was racing three-wide with Busch and Jeff Gordon. Gordon appeared to get under Johnson, whose No. 48 Chevrolet got loose and made contact with Busch, who retaliated by turning his No. 2 Dodge into the No. 48 Chevrolet.

Afterward, Busch said he was starting to lose faith in Johnson's "ability to be a three-time champion on the track." And Johnson criticized Busch's temper and claimed the driver was coming to intentionally tag him for a second time.

Three days later, Busch wasn't eager to rehash it.

"We have a week off," he said. "We'll sort it out when we get to Indy."

Hamlin said he corresponds regularly with Gordon, Tony Stewart and other top drivers to keep the lines of communication open.

"I text them and ask them what do they expect from me as a competitor," Hamlin said. "You know, 'How can I make your job easier? How can I make my job easier? So that way, when I come up on you, I don't dread racing you because you're going to race the crap out of me.' I want them to feel the same way. I don't want them to have to come up to me and know that they have to race me hard."

Though he's not as close to Johnson, Hamlin said he believes they understand each other.

"I've talked to Jimmie before, and we know what to expect from each other," Hamlin said. "We race each other hard, because we know we're the guys to beat to win the race."

Hamlin, Busch, Stewart and Jamie McMurray spent Monday and Tuesday testing tires that Goodyear is developing for the first night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sept. 6.

When the series resumes at Indy, Johnson will hold third place in the points standings behind Stewart and Gordon. Busch is fourth and Hamlin fifth.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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