Penske stands by his man , sort of

Posted: June 11, 2007

LONG POND, Pa. - Kurt Busch and Roger Penske walked together into yesterday's pre-race drivers meeting at Pocono Raceway.

"A sign of solidarity?" someone wondered.

Evidently.

Following the meeting, Penske addressed Busch's situation. On Friday, NASCAR deducted 100 points from Busch, fined him $100,000 and placed him on probation until Dec. 31 for his pit-road misbehavior during last week's Nextel Cup race at Dover, Del.

Penske also lost 100 owner's points.

Upset with Tony Stewart's role in a collision that sent him spinning into the wall, Busch parked his Dodge next to Stewart's Chevrolet on pit road. Busch almost hit Jason Lee, Stewart's jack man, as he pulled up.

"I've got to be supportive, and not walk away from a guy that maybe made a mistake," Penske said. "We've had lots of conversations. I told him he's got to pull his guys together. He spent a lot of quality time with his crew on Thursday.

"The biggest disappointment I had was, I wasn't there to maybe keep that situation from happening."

Asked if he expects someone with Busch's racing experience (he's the 2004 Cup champion) to control his frustrations better, Penske didn't respond directly.

"You always look back and ask yourself, 'Why did I put myself in that situation?' '' he said. "These are high-strung guys on the race track. Kurt has great talent in driving."

Petty sub impressive

Chad McCumbee, appearing in his first Cup race as a one-race replacement for Kyle Petty, made an impressive debut.

McCumbee finished 25th. He drove the No. 45 Dodge while Petty served as an analyst for the TNT telecast.

"Winning the ARCA race [on Saturday] gave me a lot of confidence," McCumbee, 22, said.

Before the race, he said he hoped to finish on the lead lap, and said, "A top 20 or 25 would be really good."

McCumbee portrayed Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the movie "3", about the life and death of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Hendrick dominating

Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won 10 of the season's 14 races . . . Rick Hendrick has more wins (11) at Pocono than any other car owner . . . Carl Edwards won his fourth Busch series race of the year Saturday night at Nashville. He leads Kevin Harvick by 472 points in the Busch standings. Edwards hasn't won a Cup race since November 2005.

Send e-mail to fleiscb@phillynews.com

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