NASCAR: Emotions boil over at Bristol for Kyle Busch, crew chief Dave Rogers

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The trials and tribulations of Bristol Motor Speedway can be very frustrating to deal with.

Thus, it’s probably safe to assume that Kyle Busch and his crew chief, Dave Rogers, are not the first driver/CC combo to get mad at each other during a night in Thunder Valley.

But considering that they’re preparing to race for a Sprint Cup title in a few weeks, their radio conversation late in last night’s Irwin Tools Night Race may not be interpreted as a good sign.

Busch’s frustrations began earlier on in the evening, when he was tagged with a pit road speeding penalty and then got involved in a multi-car pileup at Lap 125 that effectively ruined any hope of a decent finish.

Fast-forward to near the end of the race, where Busch and Rogers had the following radio exchange according to Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long:

Busch: “I need a whole new right front suspension, a whole new right front suspension. I will be behind the wall in about two [expletive] laps.”

Rogers: “Park it behind the truck and take your whiny little ass to the bus.”

Both Rogers and team owner Joe Gibbs downplayed the exchange afterwards, with Rogers characterizing it as a miscommunication.

“We came back here to the truck and had a great talk,” Rogers said according to Long. “You look at things like this as a negative and negatives create positives if you look at them the right way. We got to air things out and had a great talk. I think we’re going to be better going forward.”

As for Gibbs – who’s no doubt seen some instances like this before over the course of his careers in both the NFL and NASCAR – he didn’t express concern about a potential rift between his driver and CC on the No. 18 squad.

“That’s just pro sports,” Gibbs said according to NASCAR.com. “Every now and then, you get frustrated.”

Over the last four races, Busch, Rogers and the 18 camp have suffered one calamity after another.

Pocono saw Busch bow out early with an engine failure. At the next race at Watkins Glen, contact between him and Martin Truex Jr. relegated “Rowdy” to a 40th-place finish.

Then at Michigan, Busch hit the wall on Lap 4 and was forced to the garage for extensive repairs before finishing 39th. Last night, Busch was credited with 36th place.

In a post-race statement on his own web site, Busch did not reference his exchange with Rogers.

“It was a very frustrating night,” he said. “I thought we had a pretty good Doublemint Camry, and we were able to make it through the field there at the start of the race and take the lead. I’m not sure where we are off on the speeding penalty, but we’ll have to look at what the issue there was.

“You get back into the field, and we ended up getting caught up in someone else’s mess. The Doublemint guys worked hard to get our car as raceable as possible, but it turned out to be a really long night.”

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”