- David Newton, ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Kyle Busch is trying to mend relationships with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.
The 22-year-old driver, who will be replaced by Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season at HMS, apologized after Saturday's team meeting to Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears for recent comments regarding their loyalty.
I have started a lot of it myself. I have made a lot of mistakes and opened my mouth too much.
Busch had said the three did not help him as they normally would have when he had a chance to win the Pepsi 400 at Daytona three weeks ago, saying, "If I have to race my teammates now differently than what I used to, then I'll do it."
He said Gordon blew him off after the race, which Gordon said never happened, and that he now was the outsider looking in at HMS. He continued to fuel the fire with comments the following week at Chicago.
"I have started a lot of it myself," Busch said before Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I have made a lot of mistakes and opened my mouth too much."
Busch blamed it on the frustration of being forced out at HMS and the search for a new team, which appears to have narrowed to Joe Gibbs Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Evernham Motorsports.
"It has just been a difficult time, and everything just feels like it is more under a microscope," Busch said. "And when you don't have things quite go your way or the right way, you tend to think it is because they are not helping you or wanting to help you because you aren't going to be there.
"But that is completely untrue. It is going to continue to make them better and going to continue to make me better to work together and be friends now and after I leave. I would like to be able to go to them and ask for advice and be friends with them."
Busch discussed his situation on Sunday because NASCAR officials asked him to be available after he blew off reporters during his media availability following Saturday's qualifying.
David Newton covers motorsports for ESPN.com.
Kyle Busch is trying to mend relationships with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.