Kasey Kahne on Kyle Busch: “I don’t care to talk to him”

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Last Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway marked the latest run-in on the track between Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. And it’s leading Kahne to give Busch the silent treatment.

Well, the mostly silent treatment.

“[Busch] sent me an e-mail, and texted if I got it, and I told him I did,” Kahne said today according to the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen-Patriot. “I talked through every situation and scenario with him when we’ve had it, and to this day I’ve raced him the exact same way.

I think he was having a bad day, and he just loses it. He did write me an e-mail, but I don’t care any more. I don’t care to talk to him.”

With less than 20 laps to go at Pocono, Busch squeezed Kahne into the wall and touched off an incident that also collected Carl Edwards. A potential Top-10 day for Kahne instead ended with him finishing 42nd.

Kahne and Busch appeared to have settled their differences from one year ago, which saw them have multiple incidents with each other. But the Pocono crash has seemingly re-fueled Kahne’s disdain for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Making him much happier was this morning’s announcement that his No. 5 Chevrolet would continue to enjoy Farmers Insurance sponsorship through the 2017 season.

Whether or not Kahne will be in the No. 5 car for that time period remains to be seen. Kahne’s current deal with Hendrick Motorsports only runs through the end of next year.

He’s hopeful that he can stay in the Hendrick garage, but knows that he has to start getting better results. Kahne’s ill-fated run at Pocono left him 21st in points, and he remains without a win that can put him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup for a third consecutive season.

“We can’t have that,” he said to reporters about his ongoing struggles. “If we can get rid of some of those troubles, I would hope that I would be at Hendrick Motorsports for a long time.

“We have a lot of really good things going on and with a little bit of performance here and there, maybe [negotiations] will come up sooner than later.”

Kahne was fastest in this morning’s first Sprint Cup practice session, turning in a lap at more than 203 miles per hour.

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.