Gibbs plays referee between Busch and Hamlin

The angry Kyle Busch was back. The driver who always seems to run up front, yet can also come unglued at any moment, had parked his mangled car within inches of Denny Hamlin's hauler [after the incident between Busch and #11-Hamlin]. The All-Star race was still going on late Saturday night, but car owner Joe Gibbs knew he had to act immediately to avoid a potentially season-altering crisis after Busch had just declared on the radio that, "I swear to God, I am going to kill (him)." Gibbs hustled to catch up to Busch, who climbed out of his ruined car, punched the air and stormed into Hamlin's trailer. Hamlin was still on the track, but Busch was waiting to confront him for his move with eight laps left that caused Busch to hit the wall and end his chances of winning $1 million. Gibbs relied heavily on his people skills. "I think in pro sports, if you've been on the sidelines or you've been in racing you're going to have people get mad about things," Gibbs said. "It's spur of the moment type things. I think what was much more meaningful is we met in there." Not before forming a plan. Gibbs joined Busch in Hamlin's hauler.

After Busch's brother, Kurt, won the race and Hamlin finished fourth, Hamlin was told to park his car at the edge of the garage. He was met by several team members, and escorted to the suddenly crowded hauler. Gibbs had ordered the incident – in which Hamlin tried to block his teammate's attempt to pass him for the lead in the closing laps – cued up on their video monitor. At first, Busch had no use for watching TV. "It was the old Kyle for a little while," Hamlin said, referring to the hothead reputation Busch has been trying to shed of late. "Then the new Kyle came and met with us." With Gibbs mediating, Hamlin and Busch watched the video and told their sides. "Kyle brought up a great point. What should we expect when we come to this race?" Hamlin said. "Do we need to have a meeting beforehand and say, 'OK, we don't share the same jerseys today, is it every man for himself?' My feeling was, 10 laps to go, I'm afraid so, we're not teammates. I think we both have an understanding of that and it's good from here on forward. Gibbs, too, insisted the meeting ended peacefully and with the issue behind them. Their insistence that the issue was resolved would have been easier to believe if Busch hadn't sneaked out a side door of the hauler, ran around the front away from where reporters had gathered, and slipped in a side door of his own hauler. "No, I don't have a knack," Gibbs said. "I think what was real good was both of them wanted to talk it out, which was good. We talked it out and I think we had a good discussion about it. I think we're ready to go race the 600 and race as teammates." Associated Press

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