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Is rivalry developing between Trevor Bayne and James Buescher?

By Lee Montgomery

GLADEVILLE, Tenn. – Is there a growing rivalry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series between young drivers Trevor Bayne and James Buescher?

The two drivers have been involved in at least two incidents in 2010, one at Las Vegas and again at the most recent race at Bristol. Bayne said he figured the contact from Buescher at Bristol was payback from Vegas, where Bayne ran into Buescher.

Buescher, 20, said Bayne apologized profusely for the contact at Las Vegas. But they didn’t talk after the Bristol incident.

"He called me, he apologized (after Vegas)," Buescher said. "I was fine that. I really felt like he was sorry and he really didn’t mean to do it. I was fine before the race at Bristol. He apologized maybe three or four times between the two weeks between the two races.

"And then he right-reared me in the wall on lap three of the Bristol race. He apologized and apologized and apologized – and then took us out again."

Bayne, 19, said after the Bristol race he wasn’t sure how he could be at fault for that crash, blaming Buescher for the incident. Clearly, there is some misunderstanding between the two drivers.

"We got taken out by the same guy two out of the first four races," Buescher said. "We don’t want that to continue all year long. Trevor and I are both up-and-coming drivers. I know that, he knows that, I’m sure. We’re both trying to get to the same point: We’re both trying to get to the Cup level.

"You can’t just take each other out every week because it’s just going to hurt us both. We both have to be running up front, get good finishes, show people what we can really do – not how we can wreck people."

Bayne, too, hopes the on-track contact is over.

"My problem was I’d hate to walk through the garage and have to turn my head every time some specific person walked by me," Bayne said. "I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want it to be over. It’s not something that we intended on happening. It’s not something that we were like,’ Hey, I don’t like this kid.’ It was nothing off the race track. It’s all stuff that happened on."

Even though the two drivers haven’t talked since Bristol, apparently crew members from both teams have. And Bayne strongly suggested that both drivers were simply acting upon direction from their crew.

"Sometimes drivers can be puppets in race cars," Bayne said. "None of us want to say it, but if the owner says, ‘Hey, do this or you’re fired,’ you’re probably going to do it. You’ve got to do your job. That’s the end of it, hopefully."

Buescher said he’s not sure the issue is over.

"We’ll see in these next couple weeks," Buescher said. "We’ll see what happens. I think everything’s good. I don’t think we’ll have any more issues."

Bayne hopes so, too.

"I’m going to race him just like I race everybody else, not any easier, not any harder," Bayne said. "That’s how we’ve always done. But I definitely hope it’s all done – no more wrecked race cars."