If Kyle Busch is bothered by the happenings of this week, he isn't letting it show. In fact, it's business as usual for the 22-year-old from Las Vegas.
When Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on Wednesday that he signed with Hendrick Motorsports for next season, Busch became the odd man out with Hendrick and suddenly became the hottest free agent in the garage.
While the offers are already pouring in for the talented hot shoe, Busch claimed that he is still focused on winning the championship this year and backed it up with a third place qualifying effort at Michigan International Speedway on Friday.
"To me, I'm still 100 per cent focused to that team and I love those guys," said Busch, who joined Hendrick's stable as an 18-year-old. "I've grown in a strong relationship with those guys so I'm going to go out there and do what I do every week and that's to drive the car to the limits and try to win races."
Speculation is rampant about where Busch will end up next season. There is an obvious opening at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and he had a brief conversation with Ray Evernham last week, but Busch said that he isn't spending much energy worrying about that right now. His success so far in the series speaks for itself and he expects that the right opening will come along.
"I like the credentials I've built," said Busch, who has four Nextel Cup Series wins and finished 10th in the championship standings last year. "I feel like it's a solid resume and I think that's pretty much what it takes. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to next year and the years after that. There's a fresh start somewhere else so why not be excited about that?"
Obviously the announcement has been a hot topic around the garage this year, but not all of the competitors have been caught up in it. Tony Stewart suggested that he hadn't paid much attention to it at all.
"I've been busy worrying about what we've been doing," Stewart said. "We don't all just sit around and watch TV all day. We work seven days a week. It's not like we have much time to think about anything else."
Around the track
With the Citizens Bank 400 scheduled to be run on Father's Day, several drivers have taken the opportunity to bring their dads to the race track with them this week. "Obviously a lot of fathers come in for this weekend and my father's the one who got me started in racing," Stewart said. "It's neat to have him come watch what we do full time."
Jimmie Johnson helped unveil a new paint scheme that 11 Chevy drivers will be running in the August race at MIS to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Chevy. Johnson eyed up the classic that was on display and quipped that he'd like to have the big chrome bumper on his short track cars to help clear the way.
There won't be any Fords starting in the top 10 on Sunday, but Roush-Fenway teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle set the pace during Saturday's morning practice session. Edwards was the highest qualifier among the Ford camp on Friday with a 12th-place effort.