Busch defended his actions after the race - running into the back of the No. 39 Chevrolet - as "when everyone checked up coming into the garage and he was taking his helmet off." Busch said he should have learned a valuable lesson from Jimmy Spencer, who delivered a haymaker on the young driver at Michigan in 2003, not to take his helmet off until he was in the garage.
Busch believes the fine is "what it is." Busch agrees that he didn't line up properly for the restart after his accident when NASCAR directed him to line up as last car on the track. He assumed the sanctioning body could have taken umbrage for him speeding on pit road or running into the back of the No. 39 on pit road after the race.
Still, Busch found Newman's vitriol directed at him curious, particularly that Busch's claim that the postrace contact with the No. 39 after the race "was a lie."
"Newman and I were friends," Busch said. "We were great teammates. And he needs to check his trophy case on that Daytona 500 trophy that I helped him get years ago. We were always great friends. There was no need for his comments afterwards. He knew his Southern 500 didn't go the way he wanted it to and at the end of the night everyone is hot and pissed off.
"The Daytona 500 is a big race, Darlington 500 is just as big of an event and a lot of people get excited for it. I wanted to finish in the top 10 and we didn't get that top-10 finish. So it was a tough night and it all went bad in a hurry."
Newman and Busch are competing for something greater than finishing position. Both are free agents at the end of this season. And both drivers will be at the top of most owners' wish lists if sponsorship can be secured.
Newman, 34, is in his fourth full season with Stewart-Haas Racing, which won the 2011 championship with team owner Tony Stewart last year. In 11 full seasons, Newman has 16 wins, the most recent at Martinsville Speedway in April. He finished in the top 10 six times and is currently 14th in the points standings.