AUTO PACKAGE: But he started it! Newman, Busch resort to name calling in NASCAR's latest feud

  • Article by: DAN GELSTON , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 17, 2013 - 3:59 PM
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FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2012 file photo, NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs, left, watches results with Kyle Busch, center, and Ryan Newman at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Busch and Newman are the latest drivers to feud following a dust-up at New Hampshire.

Photo: Jim Cole, Associated Press - Ap

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Ahh, nothing like a little NASCAR name calling to spice up the week.

Kyle Busch called Ryan Newman an "ogre." Newman threatened to rearrange Busch's face and "fix it."

All that's missing is the principal to come break things up.

Busch and Newman are the latest drivers to feud following a dust-up at New Hampshire. Newman was involved in a pair of incidents with the Busch brothers that triggered the verbal sparring immediately after the race.

Newman was part of an accident that took out race leader Kurt Busch. Later in the race, he made contact with Kyle.

"I really hated that Kurt got tore up," Busch said. "I felt like he had the best car. And was proud of them guys but, man, just stupidity. I mean Ryan Newman's the biggest stupid idiot out here, and he's a big ogre and can do whatever he wants because he can probably kick anybody's butt. So no sense in getting in a fight with him, but glad he's out of a job."

Stewart-Haas Racing is giving Newman the boot at the end of the season to make room for Kevin Harvick.

Newman responded the next day on SiriusXM with some jabs of his own.

"I'm just afraid if I rearranged his face, I might fix it," he said. "We know that he's not very bright. He's a heck of a talent but he's not very bright. And I'll leave it at that."

But wait, there's more.

It's 2013. So that means there's only one way to settle a score. On the track with fenders flying? With fists in the garage?

Nah, Twitter.

Busch tweeted a sort-of apology for letting his emotions get the better of him after a tough race.

"I'm not sorry for how I feel in those moments, but could have expressed it better and certainly my comments about someone's livelihood went too far," he wrote.

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THREE TIMES A WINNER: With three wins in one week, Scott Dixon is suddenly in very lofty company in the IndyCar record books.

He won at Pocono on July 7 for his first win of the season, then added two more last weekend in the doubleheader at Toronto to become the winningest active driver in IndyCar. His 32 career wins ranks seventh all-time behind some of the biggest names in open-wheel racing: Three Unsers, two Andrettis, and the all-time leader, A.J. Foyt.

It's a position Dixon never dreamed he'd be in when the New Zealander joined the Champ Car Series as a 20-year-old in 2001.

"I started this when? I was 20 or 21 — I was probably trying to think of where to go that night instead of what my future was holding," he said.

With his two wins at Toronto, Dixon passed teammate Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais, who all have 31. But Dixon has a ton of ground to gain on the competition: Tracy has retired from full-time IndyCar competition and Bourdais is saddled with inferior equipment at Dragon Racing. Franchitti turned 40 this year and nobody knows — including him — how long he'll continue racing full-time.

Dixon turns 33 next week and has a lot of racing left in his future while driving for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, where he's been since the fourth race of the 2002 season.

"I tried to just concentrate on it on a day-by-day basis, week-by-week," he said. "I'm very fortunate to have 31 of those wins with this team, 12 years with this team. I think me and Helio (Castroneves) are probably the longest active drivers with one team, which I think says a lot for the wins we've had and what we've achieved together. It's cool to be on that list and moving up it."

Foyt leads all drivers with 67 wins. Mario Andretti is next with 52 followed by son Michael's 42 victories. Fourth on the list is Al Unser with 39 wins, followed by Bobby Unser at 35 and Al Unser Jr.'s 34 victories.

"It does feel amazing," Dixon said. "Moving closer to some of these guys, years ago I didn't think I'd ever be in this position. I was a happy kid from New Zealand racing cars, then it worked into one day I was actually getting paid to race cars. It was a win-win situation.

"But for me, I think stats are for maybe when you retire, you kind of look back on it. No disrespect to anybody or anything about it. I want to race. I hope we can win more races together. But to be on that list, yeah, it's amazing to be among those names. What I hope for is we can win a few more."

_____

GET OUT THE WAY!: Helio Castroneves knew he didn't have the car to catch Scott Dixon in Sunday's race at Toronto. He figured his only shot was on restarts, and he got two in the final 15 laps.

But IndyCar allows lapped cars to line up with the leaders on restarts before the final 10 laps of the race, and dealing with that traffic cost Castroneves his chance on the second-to-last restart.

It's a rule the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner wants changed.

"What are you going to do, 15 laps to go? You're not going to lap the field, you're not going to get your lap back," he said. "It's very unusual for you to be very lucky, get your lap back, have a very good finish. I think we should review that kind of scenario, because even if I would be in that situation, which I've been, it's not fun because what are you doing there? You're in the middle of the leaders and you can cause a big mess.

"I wasn't happy. I wish they would change that rule."

Race-winner Dixon thinks the rule should be applied based on the race track.

"I think it's more track-dependent. Indy, they say 10 laps to go, people need to get out of the way. That's a lot different to Iowa. It's a third of the size, the 10 laps go by very quickly," Dixon said. "I think for the drivers that are in those situations, they probably want to get out of the way. But they're probably also fighting for somebody that's on the same lap right around that same position."

Dixon said there's been discussion about the rule in recent driver meetings.

"It's one of those things I think some weekends it works for you, some it doesn't," he said. "Courtesy-wise, if I was in that situation, several laps down, when you're racing from a lap down, you can get your position back off strategy, that's different. But, yeah, I think if you're more than one lap down, you should probably get out of the way."

_____

GETTING DIRTY: Go ahead, spill the dirt.

NASCAR is set for its first dirt race in more than 40 years on Tuesday when the Truck Series hits Eldora Speedway.

The last time one of NASCAR's top touring series competed on dirt was Sept. 30, 1970, when Richard Petty won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (called the Grand National Division at that time) race at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

There are five, eight-lap qualifying events and a 15-lap last-chance race to come up with the 30 competitors (regularly 36 in the Truck Series) who will start the 150-lap race at the Tony Stewart-owned track. The race is broken into three segments of 60, 50 and 40 laps.

Set the DVR so the kids can watch the next day. The green flag drops at 9:30 p.m. ET on Speed.

"I really feel like this is a way for NASCAR to get back to the roots of the sport," analyst Kenny Wallace said. "We've had a lot of fans express their concerns that we've forgotten our roots, country music, Saturday night racing, etc. I just really look at this as a home run, no matter what."

_____

IRON MAN: NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Josh Wise missed the memo that he should be off this weekend.

With a rare break in Cup action, Wise will still line up for some serious action on Sunday in the form of a triathlon.

Wise is participating in a 70.3-mile half-Ironman that will include a 1.2-mile swim in Lake Michigan, a 56-mile bike course and a 13.1-mile run in Racine, Wis.

Wise has been training for the July 21 event in Racine for about a year. At the most intense part of his training, Wise was swimming five miles, biking 150 miles and running 20 miles per week. In these final days before the race, he will carry a lighter training schedule to allow his body to recover and be in prime condition for Sunday.

"I've always trained really hard to be in good shape in the race car, and this just added a fun element to that for me and goals for me to set," he said.

_____

ARCA MARK: Frank Kimmel will try and set the ARCA mark for career wins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway

Kimmel matched Iggy Katona's record of 79 wins when he took the checkered flag June 30 at Winchester Speedway. Kimmel has won nine series championships since his 1990 debut.

"It crossed my mind, but then I told myself not to think about it too early," Kimmel said.

Kimmel's 79 wins have come at 28 different tracks, including Chicagoland Speedway in 2003

Katona drove in the ARCA series from 1953 to 1977, winning at 40 different tracks in more than 600 career starts.

_____

AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer contributed to this report.

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