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Childress looks forward to working with Kurt Busch

September 26, 2012, Joe Menzer,

Richard Childress Racing has relationship with driver's 2013 Furniture Row team

WELCOME, N.C. -- Team owner Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing once put Kyle Busch in a headlock and delivered a couple of blows to Busch's head to make a point.

"... Anybody who wants to win and has that burning desire to win -- they're going to let it get away from them and sometimes they're going to let it go too far. ... Even Dale Earnhardt was like that sometimes."


He obviously has been much more subtle with Kurt Busch, Kyle's older brother who revealed this week that next season he will be driving the No. 78 Chevrolet for Furniture Row Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, replacing current driver Regan Smith. Furniture Row, owned by Barney Visser, has a technical alliance with RCR -- and Childress said he welcomes Kurt to the extended RCR racing family with open arms.

"I think it's going to be a positive impact," Childress said Tuesday at the RCR shop, where he was helping promote the upcoming Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Barney's a great, great owner in our sport, and just a great man. We've been working with them with Regan [Smith], and Regan's done a really good job. I think having Kurt a little closer to us here (in North Carolina), he will be able to possibly help out a little more. But Regan's been a big asset to us in a lot of ways, too [even though Smith moved last year out to Denver, to be closer to the Furniture Row Racing shop].

"I just look forward to whatever the future of Furniture Row is. Todd Berrier has worked here; their engineers have worked here. Hopefully it will be positive for them, as it will be for us."

Berrier, who replaced Pete Rondeau as Smith's crew chief in late July, spent 17 years working at RCR (mostly as a crew chief) before moving on toward the end of last season. He worked at JTG/Daugherty Racing briefly before moving onto Furniture Row.

Kurt Busch, meanwhile, continues to try to rebuild a career that took a turn for the worse toward the end of last season when repeated run-ins with the media off the track -- and some fellow drivers on it -- led to him parting ways with Penske Racing. He eventually signed with Phoenix Racing to drive its No. 51 Chevrolet full-time in the Cup Series and also occasionally in the Nationwide Series, as well as with his younger brother's Kyle Busch Motorsports operation for some additional Nationwide races.

With 24 career Cup wins and the 2004 championship on his resume, no one questions Kurt Busch's talent behind the wheel. It has been his behavior on and off the track that sometimes has caused him, and others, problems. Childress said he thinks he could help Busch become a better person and, by extension, a better driver.

"Kurt knows that he's had some challenges," Childress said. "I've talked to him several times, and he's worked really hard as a person to work through some of those things. I know that I can work with him and we would make it work. Now that he's with Furniture Row ... if I see him saying something wrong, I'm going to be the first one to go talk to him.

"And he respects that. I think he needs someone to come over to him and say, 'This is how it's done.'"

Childress, in fact, said that Kurt Busch at times has reminded him of another driver he used to employ.

"He's got a plan. He's working hard to put a lot of that stuff behind him," Childress said. "There have been several opportunities that he's had to fire back at people in the press or whatever [this year]. He's done pretty well.

"He's just a little more vocal than some other drivers. But heck, Dale Earnhardt was one that you had to work with. A lot of these guys -- anybody who wants to win and has that burning desire to win -- they're going to let it get away from them and sometimes they're going to let it go too far. You've got to be able to pull them back and say, 'Here's what you've got to do.' Some guys need that. Even Dale Earnhardt was like that sometimes."