Jeff Hammond: Stewart-Haas Racing is getting in Kyle Busch’s head

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Jeff Hammond tells 'NASCAR Race Hub' that after another second-place finish to a Stewart-Haas car, Kyle Busch has to be getting frustrated with the team.

- You heard him say, we're on an island and then the other guys are on their own island. How far off do you think they are? Or is it just that Stewart-Haas racing is so far ahead?

- No, no. They're not so far ahead. But I tell you what they are, they're getting in his head, because he's getting frustrated. I mean, any time you look, all of a sudden, well it's Kevin Harvick beating him. OK, now we've got Clint Bowyer beating what me. What do I have to do?

- Or another Toyota, right?

- Or another Toyota. So it's one of those kind of deals. He's right there, but he can't get where he wants to be. Once he gets one win, I think his attitude will change. But until then, he's going to be frustrated.

- One of the great surprises in 2018-- I think we can all agree-- is the emergence of Ford as a manufacturer, and how consistently they have been up front. We mentioned earlier, Stewart-Haas has won four of the first six races. But let's not ignore the success of Team Penske. And in particular today, Ryan Blaney, who was third leading 145 laps at a tough racetrack.

- That is truly impressive. I mean, obviously Ryan runs good everywhere he goes. But when you go to Martinsville, he hasn't been that many times, a lot to learn. You can kind of run like not very good the first few times you go. He's made that place look like it's pretty easy today. So I think the all Team Penske, obviously, they're running really fast. All the Fords and Ryan Blaney really impressed me today with the way he handled adapting to that racetrack, making some changes, getting back to third after midway through the race.

- You know, the one thing I noticed in one interview is that if he had a little bit better attitude when ya'll were talking about a minute ago, he probably would have won that race today, because he didn't like Martinsville.

- Yeah, because you said coming into the race, like he was like, oh, I'm not looking forward to this. But he's like-

- If he'll just kind of embrace this racetrack, it'll pay dividends. But this guy, he's the real deal. Think all the way back to Daytona. He could have easily won the Daytona 500. They've got to be ecstatic over there at Team Penske, bringing him on board. I think he's a key element to see the success of this whole group move forward.

- Again, with the exception of the Daytona 500 and the Martin Truex Jr. race, is Stewart-Haas racing that far ahead of everybody else?

- No, but they're not making any mistakes. I mean today, they had opportunities to make mistakes. And this is a great thing about having a great organization. Kevin wasn't the number one car. Kurt Busch wasn't number one car. Today was Clint Bowyer. And the team performed when it needed to. Pit crew did its job, all the adjustments were so key. But when it matters the most right now, Shannon, they're hitting on it. They're not missing. And when somebody does miss it, the other guy steps up.

- Hey, putting the Kyle Busch in perspective, he hasn't finished worse than seventh since Daytona. The last five races, average finish is 3.2. And we know what you're going to get from him when he doesn't win, maybe even sometimes when he does win, because he's so competitive.

- He's such a perfectionist.

- But I'm telling you, they are right in the wheel house of speed and knocking on the door of success.