Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Friday November 11, 2011
Nearly a week after Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch was parked for the weekend at Texas following an incident in the Camping World Truck Series last Friday night, the sport is still buzzing with reaction and speculation about the driver, the punishment, and the future.
The picture still wasn’t terribly clear on Thursday night, just hours before the Cup cars were scheduled to open the weekend practices, though a couple of the pieces have fallen into place. ESPN reported that Busch would drive this weekend, but Interstate Batteries will replace M&M’s, who was scheduled for the Phoenix weekend, as primary sponsor and will likely adorn the No. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway next week for the season finale, though M&M Mars has released a statement saying that they will honor their sponsorship contract with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012. Z-Line designs reportedly has asked for Denny Hamlin to replace Busch in the No. 18 Nationwide entry at Homestead as well (Joey Logano was already scheduled to drive the car in the NNS race at Phoenix). And NASCAR handed down the additional penalty of a $50,000 fine and probation through December 31, 2011.
Let’s be clear here: NASCAR’s role in punishing Busch is over. Any additional penalties will come from Joe Gibbs Racing and Busch’s sponsors. While the penalty from the sanctioning body seems light ($50,000 is less than the cost of a top race truck; it would have been nice to see Busch held responsible for the full replacement cost of the one he destroyed and the probation of just two races is a bit of a joke. The end of 2012 would have been much more reasonable), NASCAR is done here. Any additional penalties will come from JGR and Busch’s sponsors.
As of Thursday night, it appears that the only other penalties Busch will face are the suspension from the seat of the No. 18 Nationwide car at Homestead and the loss of M&M’s for the final two weeks of 2011 (which likely includes a refund to the sponsor for those two races).
You have to wonder if they did the right thing. Despite this week’s penalties being weak, NASCAR did all they really could. Without a clear ruling about how far is too far, without precedent for a longer parking, the sanctioning body handled the situation right. Though there are still questions to be answered-will NASCAR tolerate retaliation from other drivers on Busch for various incidents, now that they know he can’t do anything about it? I would hope not, and if that were to happen, that NASCAR would penalize them accordingly. Hitting a guy when his hands are tied is a cowardly thing to do. Hopefully NASCAR knows that and will take appropriate action
But what about JGR? As of Thursday night, there was no word from the team about any internal sanctions, and with Busch confirmed as the driver of the No. 18 this weekend, it appears that any further punishment will be either monetary or service-based. Word on the street at Texas was that Busch wasn’t given a choice about whether he wanted to sit on the pit box or not, and if that’s the case, it was the right thing for JGR to do. Having to watch your team perform without you is much more difficult when you really have to watch, instead of hiding behind whatever you can find at home to fill the time. If it is true that Busch was ordered to sit on the box for the race, it was a good move. Hopefully Busch will be asked to pay the difference in the crew’s point bonus as well to make up for the points positions he cost them. That’s only fair; the No. 18 crew had nothing to do with Busch’s actions Friday night.
As for Mars, they are in a difficult position. It’s easy to say the company should have dropped Busch. The sponsor and its merchandise are very popular with the very youngest race fans, and Busch’s attitude isn’t something that many parents want their children to aspire to. They already don’t feature Busch prominently on their website as virtually every other major sponsor does; even the backers of the smallest teams feature their drivers proudly. That M&M’s Racing does not is already telling. Truthfully, a much better fit for Busch would be an adult-oriented sponsor.
Still, Mars knows that Busch gets them the one thing they really pay for-airtime. And when it’s because of his racing, on a good day when he’s brilliant and clean, that’s great for a sponsor. Busch can win races and make the Chase in any given year, and perhaps will win Mars a championship when all is said and done, if he can learn from his past. If the company had dropped Busch and stayed with JGR, the driver pickings for 2012 would have been slim so late: Brian Vickers raised so much fan ire at Martinsville that he would be a tough sell. David Reutimann is an okay driver, not a brilliant one. Other Toyota drivers are already tied up with 2012 contracts, and Brian Scott isn’t ready for a full-time Cup gig. The top free agents have signed already. So, while Busch clearly doesn’t fit the company mold (hence Dave Rogers and the pit crew being featured on the sponsor’s website while Busch is barely even mentioned in passing), there wasn’t a better option for 2012.
For Busch, this whole experience had better be a lesson. The thing about it is, if he doesn’t learn and truly change his ways (and not just as a PR stunt like he has the last couple of times), he will ruin his own career. If he had been let go from JGR (as he still could be if he ever does something like Friday night again), he’d have little chance at a top ride at the Cup level unless he could get his own team to that level; he’s burned bridges with Roush Fenway and Hendrick, and most likely by default, Wood Brothers, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Stewart-Haas Racing as well. Richard Childress likely wouldn’t take him, and it’s debatable that Roger Penske would want another high-maintenance driver, either. And that doesn’t leave much.
Kyle Busch is a brilliant racecar driver, probably among the top five in the garage right now on raw talent. His problem lies in his utter lack of respect for anyone else. As aggressive as he was, Dale Earnhardt had the respect of the other drivers, and he respected them. Even Terry Labonte. That mutual respect is what makes most drivers adhere to the unwritten rules of motorsports: Race others like they race you. If you must get even, do it under green, spin them clean, and don’t do it when it involves others. Hooking someone in the right rear is dirty, and you never do that. Busch doesn’t seem to think those rules apply to him. He has an air of entitlement about him-he should never be the one to back out, even if reality says otherwise.
Part of the problem is that nobody has ever said “no” to Kyle Busch. His parents reportedly falsified documents so that he could race a year early, rather than playing by the rules and waiting. NASCAR certainly never told him no, not in any of the other incidents this year. If they had drawn the line sooner, maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t have come to this. But nobody said “no,” and that hasn’t changed; JGR will let Busch finish out the year, M&M’s will be back at Daytona like nothing ever happened, even his NASCAR probation will be lifted after just two races. Hopefully, behind closed doors, someone has sat Busch down and told him “no more,” because if they haven’t, well, what, exactly is his reason to get off the path he’s been on since he was 15 years old?
Honestly, there’s really no solution to this situation in which everybody gets back what they had and goes on as if nothing happened. It’s a blight on Busch’s career, no matter what he does in the future. It’s possible, and hopeful, that this is what Busch needs to get himself and his career turned around. If Busch learns that his actions have consequences and that he needs to have respect for and earn the respect of his competitors, that could be the difference between a multi-championship career and never winning a title. It could mean the difference between having a top ride or not, for that matter.
The bottom line here is that NASCAR, in parking Busch and holding him accountable for his actions, did the right thing. While many people compare Busch to a driver like Dale Earnhardt, the comparison is weak. Earnhardt, as aggressive as he was, had the respect of his competitors, and he respected them. It’s the same for Tony Stewart, who changed his ways a good bit after Home Depot fined him and laid down the law as his sponsor. What Busch lacks isn’t talent, it’s respect. With respect comes judgment and maturity.
Hopefully Busch will learn that lesson through this situation. It’s flawed to say that NASCAR should have penalized other drivers and didn’t and then turn that around to say they shouldn’t have parked Busch because they didn’t park the others. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and hopefully NASCAR will realize that fans also have a line they don’t like to see crossed. They finally said “no.” But the sanctioning body acted correctly for the circumstances with the parking for one weekend. The other penalties could have been improved, but NASCAR finally drew the line in the sand on their “boys, have at it” policy, and that is a good thing.
What Kyle Busch failed to realize when he used Ron Hornaday racing him as an excuse to take out his long-standing vendetta against Kevin Harvick (because let’s face it, it was and excuse. Hornaday, not Busch had position at the time the incident started last week, and Busch was the one who decided to take it three wide at lap 15 and pinch Hornaday against a lapped truck that he knew would make Hornaday’s machine loose. He could have waited until Hornaday cleared the lapped truck to make an aggressive move to the outside.) was that his actions could have far-reaching consequences.
If he doesn’t change drastically, it could still cost his career-or worse, someone’s life. In the course of a week, Busch has mathematically eliminated his Cup team from championship contention; disgraced his sponsors, to the point where at least one appears ready to walk, leaving his team underfunded for 2012; taken bonus money out of the pockets of his pit crew with a lower points position; and put his car owner in a position no owner ever wants to be in. If Busch learns nothing, it’s a crying shame. If he learns respect for others, it could still be worth it someday, when all is said and done. Time will tell.
And Another Thing…
Seriously, Aric Almirola must be the forgiving type. After JGR treated him less than well as a development driver a few years back (Almirola subbed for Denny Hamlin, who was late arriving from his Cup obligations, at Milwaukee and was pulled from the car when Hamlin arrived despite the fact that he was running for the win at the time. Hamlin won the race, and although Almirola was credited with the win, he was visibly upset at his treatment afterwards). Nobody would have blamed him if he’d told JGR to take a hike when they inquired about him as a possible fill-in for Busch.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
And similar to how your “story” starts….nearly a week after Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch was parked for the weekend at Texas following an incident in the Camping World Truck Series last Friday night, “writers” are still making waves over what happened as they can’t really write about anything else. After all, it happened in the truck series, not Cup, and one only has to look on the NCTWS page on this site and see the limited coverage it receives. But since it’s Kyle Busch, you guys are all over it.
And Earnhardt/Busch comparison isn’t the same? Well, maybe if Busch said that he “didn’t mean to wreck Hornaday but only meant to rattle him a bit”, you guys would be ok with it? That’s the excuse Sr. used all the time. He was definitely a cheap-shot artist but writers have either a very selective memory or are afraid of the wrath if you use Sr.‘s name in a less than holy reference.
Your articles are becoming (have been) so predictable.
I disagree with Rick; I think this article thoroughly sums up the aftermath of the ugly event at Texas. It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads Amy’s columns that she comes down hard on those who step over the line, be it drivers, owners, Nascar, or even the fans. There’s a couple of reasons why Frontstretch and the rest of the race media hasn’t let this story go yet. First of all, this was a huge story. No cup driver has been parked for a race in almost a decade,and the culprit is the most hated driver in Nascar. In fact, if not for the scandal at Penn State, there would probably be even more attention still being paid to this story by the general sports media. Secondly, the story hasn’t completely played out yet. Sponsors are still making their feelings and expectations known, and JGR is still dealing with the fallout.
The best thing Kyle has going for him, PR-wise, is that Edwards and Stewart are separated by three points with nine days left in the season. I believe that by the time the green flag drops in Phoenix on Sunday, that’s what the Nascar media will be focused on.
Time will tell..but,talent aside, I don’t think Busch will ever win a championship. Unlike Busch, most of Stewart’s problems were off the track with the media ( he still has media problems but they are verbal and no longer physical). Stewart has learned to look at the big picture and in doing so has 2 championships and is in the hunt for a 3rd. Kyle is far from being a “newbie” in NASCAR, yet he still keeps making poor judgement calls usually associated with rookies. Will he ever change..one just has to listen to his older brother Kurt on the team radio to see how
Amy, I bet it’s really annoying for you that Kyle wasn’t fired. It’s not for lack of effort on your part and Frontstretch in general.
If Busch is smart he’ll spend next year racing for 10-15 place finishes. He’ll still make the chase and reporters like you still do your best Enquirer journalism best to find fault (rumor has it he’s an alien and came from an orange space ship) Just trying to match your journalism skill set.
Rick P and Sue Rarerick don’t like it when Amy opines about Shrub. So what? Are your opinions more accurate than Amy’s?
What would Busch have to do for you Busch Fanboys and Fangirls to stop defending him?
Folks, how can anyone still be a Kyle fan? Come on, the guy wrecked a guy during a caution and is lucky the guy didn’t get hurt or killed. Plus, he took the guy who had a very good chance at a championship our of contention. So I ask, just how can you still support a driver like Kyle? And, all this talk about Kyle being the best driver is crazy. Yea, he is a pretty good driver but think about it. He has padded his record in the truck and nationwide series running against young drivers and over the hill drivers who have inferior equipment and crews. And, what would Kyle’s record be if Jeff Gordon, Johnson, Steward, Kenseth, Edwards, and others were racing with him in the trucks and nationwide? That’s right, very few wins. If he is such a great driver as every one says, then where is his 8-10 cup wins a year and cup championship and wins in the chase? Truth is, he melts every time he is in the chase as he was this year. Granted, he is a decent driver but all his numerous events in all three series has tarnished any thing he has accomplished. And now M&M and Interstate are still with him and Gibbs has not gave him any meaningful punishment, hope they all can live with the next Kyle event and hope no one gets injured or killed because next time it will be on their shoulders. And, take my word, there will be a next time. It may be six months it may be a year but you have not seen the last of Kyle Busch.
bill b you are the official moron of the day. this is about RACING. given what is going on at Penn St., and even if that scandal never broke, mentioning that kind of discretion is more immature than anything Kyle has EVER done. try thinking just a little before you type. i-d-i-o-t.
Terry, maybe Bill did go over the top but he made a good point. At what point will all you Kyle fans say enough is enough? I mean the guy has been doing these things for five or six years and these $50,000 fines and double secret probation or not going to straighten him out. So, like Bill said, at what point do you Kyle fans say enough is enough? If the next incident he has causes someone to get injured or killed will that be enough. The reason I ask is because there WILL be another incident it will just be a question of time. Let’s see who is right about this but I agree with the other posters, Old Christian Joe cannot bring it to himself to dump Kyle and give him any meaningful punishment. I believe there is something in the Bible about “it’s harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven”. This seems to be a perfect example of that. Old Joe cannot bring himself to do anything about his cash cow.
The reason people love Kyle Busch is… he takes the “Dale Earnhardt Creed” to heart! Dale lived by his motto… “Show me a racer that’s a good loser and I’ll show you a loser!” Fans LOVE “Winners With PASSION”… and KB has Great Passion for Winning… and That IS HIS MAGIC!!!
I wanna know the over/under on how many races before he acts like a SPOILED BRAT again.
Two races is about right! He’ll be off probation for the start of 2012. Don’t think we’ll have to wait too long.
In a past life Busch would be flying a Messerschmitt 109 and crashing our B17 over Germany.
At least my comment, immature or not, had a zero percent probability of killing anybody.
well, i have never liked kyle bush, an never will,but i think you can blane the race announcers for his big head!that is all they talk about! so much , thati mute the button!
RickP is right-on; and Amy is ranting, as usual.
It’s over; move on!
The comparison with Earnhardt is inapt. As others have noted, Earnhardt was the consumate “cheap shot” artist…wrecking folks when he didn’t need to…just because he could. Now that Earnhardt is a “saint” rose colored recollections like those in this column prevail and history is rewritten. Sigh. Of course, none of this gives baby Busch a pass. Back in the day, Pops and Little Joe would have tuned up the petulant pup with a tire iron after the race. Problem solved well before the next race. Unfortunately, in the increasingly feminized racing world, such self help is frowned upon by current low testosterone racing doges like Brian France. More’s the pity.
It’s amazing that some of y’all just accept comments like, “Without a clear ruling about how far is too far, without precedent for a longer parking, the sanctioning body handled the situation right.” I declare BS. NASCAR could have made an example of Kyle if they had the balls to do so. We know NASCAR and BZF are spineless cowards that only pick on the little guy, not that Kyle isn’t a sawed-off little dipstick. Look at what NASCAR did to Carl Long. Do you not think that was a bit excessive? Carl’s meager career was ended in one felled swoop. Kyle deserved the same “fair” treatment. Funny, When the likes of Kyle Busch is more vilified than Joe Paterno, I cringe over the pathetic moral decline in this country.
nascar could not do more to kyle. After they LET Carl DUMP Brad TWICE and walk away with probation.
They could not park Kyle for the rest of the year.
Yes I am a Kyle fan, but know he went to far last Friday Night. I just read on Jayski that Kyle offered Ron the 18 truck for all of next year.
look…Kyle did wrong.he was parked.he was suspended.2 races.fined money.probation the remainder of season.sponsor lifted for the season.
what more do you want? have him shot?castrated?
Recent articles from Amy Henderson:
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
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