As it turns out, Kurt Busch's explosive tirade on the team radio at Richmond last week did not fall on deaf ears.
Busch, who radioed that his team's performance made the Penske Racing cars "look like a monkey fucking a football," got some of the changes he wanted heading into Darlington and the Southern 500.
The driver of the No. 22 car said Friday that the team's communication has improved and said he has four engineers with him at the track this week who usually stay behind at the shop.
He wouldn't go into specifics about any other moves, though.
"It's been a productive week," he said. "There's been a lot of movement behind the scenes. ... Restructuring, moving some things around and getting a general idea of what the actual issues are. Instead of just talking about it, we're reacting to it."
Busch said his performance had been satisfactory one year ago, when he won the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600, sweeping the Charlotte Speedweeks.
But when the team introduced a new chassis design in the late summer, Busch said things went sour. He tried to raise the issue several times – and in several different ways – but his contention that Penske "missed it" with the chassis didn't result in any changes.
Apparently, he blamed Penske Racing technical director Tom German for being hardheaded about the issue – a point he made clear in his Richmond rant.
"We're two laps down, our day is done," he said, according to motorsports writer Jay Pennell. "I'm sorry, our day was done when Tom German decided he was in charge."
Friday, Busch acknowledged that "it wasn't the best forum" to air his concerns publicly, but said he'd "seen things deteriorate – and I've held it in."
"Crossing the line and singling one person out? Well, he's the one person that's got us in this position," Busch said. "It's up to all of us to make sure we're better at the end of the day."
Another issue, Busch added, is Brad Keselowski's team isn't performing all that well. Busch said he needs the No. 2 car to improve so the drivers can help push one another.
"Brad hasn't beaten me all that much at Penske," Busch said. "I didn't get beat much by (David) Stremme. I didn't get beat much by Sam (Hornish Jr.). The last time I felt (there was) an equivalent was when (Ryan) Newman was there, and that was in '07."
But Busch ended on an optimistic note, saying he felt the communication within the team would now get better and that issues are "not just being pushed under a rug now."
Plus, the season is not lost. Despite everything, the team is still sixth in points – a fact Busch attributed to circumstance.
"The reason we're up there in points is because our worst finish of the year is 22nd," he said. "I've managed to dodge wrecks, bounce off walls, have bad pit stops or miss the setup, and still come away with what we call a salvageable finish."