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Kyle Busch slaps hands with U.S. Army service men during driver introduction before the start of the NASCAR AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, November 7, 2010, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)
Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kyle Busch admires Big Ben, Bonds

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kyle Busch embraces his role as the bad boy of NASCAR. He figures he fits right in with other athletes perceived by some to be that way – including Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and former Pirates great Barry Bonds.

“It makes me relate to them, and it makes me like them,” Busch said. “Like a Barry Bonds for instance. He’s a great baseball player, and you can’t deny that from him, although there might be some speculation or whatever you want to call it there late in his career that kind of hurt his image a little bit.

“A lot of people don’t like (New England Patriots quarterback) Tom Brady. Why? He’s good at what he does. Same thing with Roethlisberger, same thing with (Green Bay Packers quarterback) Aaron Rodgers – they’re really good. There are a lot of athletes that I can relate to that are kind of under the same scope that I am, and I like all those guys.”

JGR seeks domination

Denny Hamlin’s run at the 2010 Sprint Cup gave him reason to believe he and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates – Busch and Joey Logano – are capable of dominating this season.

Actually, all three might have a shot at the 12-driver Chase field.

“I’d say it’s probably 75 percent. Obviously, Joey is going to have to get in there for the first time and, being that this is his third year, it’s probably a good opportunity and a good chance for him to do that,” said Hamlin, who has finished second and fifth the past two seasons. “He showed at the end of last year that he’s got the speed and consistency to do it now, so it’s just going to be about him believing in himself that he can be part of the top 10.”

New partnership

NASCAR on Friday announced a technology partnership with Freescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems to develop and integrate fuel injection systems for the Sprint Cup Series. The 2012 season is the target.

Annett on probation

NASCAR placed Michael Annett, driver of the No. 62 car in the Nationwide Series, on probation until Dec. 31. The sport’s governing body said he committed actions detrimental to stock car racing.

On Sunday, Annett was charged with driving while impaired, texting while driving and resisting an officer after a two-car crash in Mooresville, N.C.

In addition to steps already taken by Rusty Wallace Racing, Annett will be evaluated by a certified substance abuse professional at NASCAR’s discretion and is subject to random alcohol and drug testing.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.