Kurt Busch Apologizes For Post-Richmond Actions, Vows To Race Clean With Jimmie Johnson

Kurt Busch said he has apologized to two reporters after he got heated in separate post-race exchanges after Saturday night's NASCAR Chase cutoff race at Richmond.

Busch called and made apologies to NASCAR.com reporter Joe Menzer – who he confronted on pit road and in the media center after Menzer asked him a question about his rivalry Jimmie Johnson – and to Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press, whose transcript Busch tore in half after denying comments he made on TV.

"I've apologized to those two guys, the individuals," he said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. "And the way we do this moving forward is we're worried about racing, and that's what needs to be written about."

Busch has repeatedly expressed his dislike for what he feels is the NASCAR media's "People magazine" focus on the drivers. He prefers to only discuss on-track activity related directly to his own efforts, and apparently feels even questions about his rivalry with Johnson are crossing the line between sports and entertainment reporting.

"To finish fifth at Richmond...I was ready to celebrate," he said. "To come away with a top-five and then have to answer questions about being dumped deliberately (by Johnson), it was taking the focus away of where I thought the season should have been recognized for."

In regard to that rivalry, Busch said he and Johnson spoke after the race and determined "we don't need to continue to wreck race cars."

"But we do need to continue to put on a good show," he said. "That's where our fans buy the tickets for and they want to see a genuine rivalry between drivers."

Busch said he knows there are 11 other drivers in the Chase – not just one – and he must remain consistent in order to win his second career Sprint Cup Series championship.

"Him and I, we're going to continue to race hard with each other," he said. "But we know it's championship time now."

Busch has become known as a driver who can be very animated on his team's radio during the race, and he acknowledged his "drive from within" and "tenacity" has him "seeing red" at times.

"I'm one that's guilty of that," he said. "But I think I race better when I have anger. It just drives me to be my best, and you just have to snap out of it right after the race, because you're coming back into the regular world.

"A lot of people don't see what drivers see through the windshield and what it takes to be successful."

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