Kyle Busch insists he is over the incident with Denny Hamlin at last weekend's All-Star race, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver's remarks still carried a hint of lingering bitterness against his teammate.
Busch hit the wall while battling Hamlin for the lead at Charlotte last Saturday, and the resulting contact then caused a tire failure that brought his race to an end.
Following the race, he spoke to Hamlin in his hauler after having harsh words against him on his radio, as he felt Hamlin had closed the door on a passing attempt he was doing in the outside lane at Turn 2, with only a few laps remaining.
Speaking at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, Busch said he was surprised by how Hamlin raced him for the lead and lamented that none of the team's cars came out winners, as Penske's Kurt Busch took victory in the event and the million-dollar prize that went with it.
"Of course, I was heated after the race," said Busch. "It surprised me that my teammate raced me that way. I wouldn't have expected that, but he's the leader, he's got the racetrack and I now understand that.
"I think last week should've went a little bit different. I felt like JGR, either [Hamlin] or myself had a great shot to win the race and bring home the million bucks to Joe Gibbs Racing and to win another race for the team and sponsors and stuff, and, unfortunately, it didn't happen."
Busch also seemed to disagree with Hamlin's quotes about the incident and believes, had the roles been reversed, he would have handled the situation differently.
"I'm a little dissatisfied with the quote that I would've done the same thing, because you can't put words in a person's mouth and I don't feel like I would've done the same thing," said Busch. "I race with respect and I learned from Mark Martin and those guys. I might have had my bad points but since learning from Mark Martin and Tony Stewart and those guys, I feel like I have got better."
Busch denied that it was his team boss Joe Gibbs who tried to intervene to solve any issues arising from the incident between them, saying it was in his best interest to prevent a feud brewing inside the three-car squad.
"It wasn't that Joe Gibbs got us together and had to mediate anything, I walked myself right in to his hauler and waited for the race to be over," Busch said. "We are a team and we need to work together and we need to keep things going forward and we are not going to let us get between the 11 [Hamlin] and the 20 [Joey Logano] and the 18 [Busch] team and divide this race shop.
"It's about keeping everybody together and pulling for the same goals and going forward and trying to win this championship for Joe Gibbs Racing. I'm over the Denny Hamlin issue. It's done and I'm moving forward. We've talked about it and we look forward to the rest of the year and working together."
Both Busch and Hamlin are currently shaping up as possible title contenders, Busch having won twice already this year and ranking second in the standings, while Hamlin has won three races and is fifth in the points.