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Reaction caught Kyle Busch by surprise

Kyle Busch: no early warning to Childress attack.

Associated Press

Kyle Busch: no early warning to Childress attack.

LONG POND, Pa. — If team owner Richard Childress had issued an ultimatum, it was news to Kyle Busch.

Asked Friday if he understood why Childress was angry at him after last weekend's trucks race at Kansas Speedway, Busch said, "Me giving a congratulatory bump to Joey Coulter is what tipped him over the edge there."

"I don't recall anytime — face-to-face conversation with Richard (telling) me, 'If you touch another one of my cars, I'm going to come find you.' I don't know if it was ever said in the media, but it was never relayed to me."

Childress, 65, was fined $150,000 and placed on probation through the end of the year for repeatedly striking Busch in the garage after last weekend's race. Busch had hit the side of Coulter's truck on the lap following the finish after the two battled hard for position late in the race.

"If he came to me and was so upset about it, I would have offered him money to fix it," Busch said. "I'm an owner in this sport. I know there's going to be torn up equipment here and there sometimes."

On Friday, Childress took responsibility for punching Busch but didn't apologize to the driver and said he didn't agree with NASCAR taking no action against Busch for his bump.

Safety first: Pocono Raceway, site of today's Spring Cup race, is a safer track.

The facility underwent a multimillion-dollar project last year that made significant safety upgrades, including a soft-wall barrier and catch fence. The fence runs from the end of the front stretch and connects with the existing catch fence in Turn 2. The 6,155-foot fence surrounds the entire 2.5-mile track.

The SAFER barrier runs on the entire length of the inside of the track from the exit of Turn 1 to the entrance of Turn 3. Pocono already has soft-wall barriers at each of the track's three turns. "That SAFER barrier is new generation," track president Brandon Igdalsky said. "It's cool, freestanding stuff. It's pretty wild."

A series of scary wrecks the past few years made Igdalsky realize it was time to act. He listened to responses from NASCAR and drivers who long complained the triangle track was unsafe, but NASCAR never forced the safety changes.

Greg Biffle blasted the track last year, saying, "They're going to kill somebody there." He approved of the upgrades. "It is probably 10 years overdue," he said. "I applaud them for taking action."

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Pocono 500

1 p.m., Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa. TV: TNT

.Sprint cup

Points standings

Through 13 of 36 races. The top 10 drivers plus two wild cards (based on wins) through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

1. Carl Edwards 485—

2. J. Johnson 445 40

3. D. Earnhardt Jr. 444 41

4. Kevin Harvick 442 43

5. Kyle Busch 425 60

6. Kurt Busch 414 71

7. Matt Kenseth 412 73

8. Tony Stewart 393 92

9. Clint Bowyer 391 94

10. Ryan Newman 382 103

Today's race

Pocono 500, 1 p.m.,

Pocono (Pa.) Raceway

TV: TNT

Reaction caught Kyle Busch by surprise 06/11/11 [Last modified: Sunday, June 12, 2011 1:14am]
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