Bad race day for Team Penske in Texas

It was the first genuinely perfect day since the NASCAR Nextel Cup season began but the sun wasn't shining on Team Penske. Trouble starting brewing early when Kurt Busch during the first round of pit stops broke the 'underpin' on the No. 2 Penske...

It was the first genuinely perfect day since the NASCAR Nextel Cup season began but the sun wasn't shining on Team Penske. Trouble starting brewing early when Kurt Busch during the first round of pit stops broke the 'underpin' on the No. 2 Penske Dodge.

The 'underpin' is the peg that the jack goes on during tire changes. When it broke it made it impossible to jack the right side of the car, the crew finally managed to make the tire change causing skirt damage on Busch's Dodge.

Busch went down two laps but was trying to come back through the field when he punted Greg Biffle on lap 83. Busch suffered heavy front end damage but was able to motor on - Biffle was not so lucky. His day was over and he had harsh words for Busch.

"When you're the guy that all you have to do is lift the gas pedal a little bit and elect not to run into the car in front of you on the straightaway, that's pretty unforgivable," said Biffle who was running in the top five while Busch was a lapped car. "If he slid up in the corner and caught me or something on an accident, or couldn't react quickly enough, that would be something.

"But he had plenty of time to react. He consciously thought about it before he turned us into the fence, so I don't know what he was upset about. We raced pretty good together yesterday in the Busch race, but we'll just have to race him a little different. If he's not clear or whatever, then maybe the shoe will be on the other foot."

Biffle wasn't the only one with something to say, his girlfriend Nicole Lunders marched over to the No. 2 pit and confronted Busch's fiancée Eva Bryan. The two had words before Lunders stormed off and had to be calmed down by Matt Kenseth's wife, Katie.

Busch's day just went to crap from there, he had to get repairs behind the wall dropping him 48 laps down - during that long period in the garage Busch refused to get out of the car and face the anxious media awaiting an explanation for wrecking Biffle.

When Busch finally did comment it was a rather weak, flabby response considering his explanation did not match the five video angles replayed of the incident, which made crystal clear that it was an intentional bump by the No. 2 Dodge.

"I don't know what he (Greg Biffle) was doing," explained Busch. "I was a lapped car trying to get out of the way. He had trouble passing the 21, and he checked up - down the straightaway. I tried not to get into him but I had nowhere to go.

"He had a fast racecar. He caught me from like 20 car lengths back in like a lap, so I don't know why he couldn't pass the 21. I was just trying to get out of the way."

The 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup series champion finished 34th and drops to 17th in series rankings.

The day wasn't much better for Busch's teammate Ryan Newman. He had an ill- handling race car all day that was just starting to come to him when he got dumped by Sterling Marling sending the No. 12 Penske Dodge into the wall on lap 201.

"Something happened in front of us," explained Newman. "I saw Casey Mears get sideways, but I'm pretty sure Sterling Marlin's hairpiece just got in his eyes and he couldn't see what was going on. It was unfortunate. The Alltel Dodge, we were just minding our own business, staying in the back.

"We didn't have a good enough car to be up there in the top five or the top 10. We were just trying to stay clean and keep our nose clean. He pretty deliberately stuffed us.

"Sterling just dumped us and it was unfortunate."

Newman wound up 40th and falls to 18th in points.

The Penske teammates need to pick it up over the next few races if they want to be in legitimate contention for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. The cut-off is just 19 races away.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Mears
Teams Team Penske