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.
Kurt Smith · Friday October 30, 2009
People who cover NASCAR, like our own Kenny Wallace, are fond of saying things like “missing the Chase does NOT make you a second class citizen”.
Try telling Kyle Busch that.
When history looks back on Kyle Busch in 2009, what do you ultimately think will be the assessment of his season? A very impressive win total of (at least) 16 in three series, a likely Nationwide title running away, third in total wins in the Cup series? Or will the most prominent attribute of Kyle’s 2009 season be “missed the Chase”?
We know the answer to that. Taken overall, his season hasn’t exactly been a disappointment, but it will be seen that way.
This even by Joe Gibbs Racing, who has decided this week to replace crew chief Steve Addington on the pit box with Dave Rogers starting in Texas. Rogers is currently the crew chief for the No. 20 car in the Nationwide Series, a car that last season made short work of the competition no matter who was behind the wheel. Rogers probably has the stuff to get Kyle Busch smoking the field again. Addington probably deserves kudos for patiently dealing with his temperamental pilot, and while he’s a capable crew chief, he’s not the kind that will make a driver better, like a Fatback McSwain or a Tony Eury Sr., unless you compare Kyle’s first season at Gibbs with his last at Hendrick. J.J. Yeley ran poorly throughout his Cup tenure and Bobby Labonte wasn’t much better in his last few seasons in the 18.
But it’s a shame that he’s been sort of a fall guy for Kyle not making the Chase. Kyle Busch has won four Cup races this season, more than anyone except Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Tony Stewart. In the Nationwide Series he has seven wins, an incredible 21 finishes of third or better in 27 races—with only three of them third place finishes—and is cruising towards a title with little difficulty. And in case you haven’t noticed, he’s got five wins in the Camping World Truck Series too. In 11 races there, he has finished lower than second only three times. First or second in eight of 11 races? Forget what Jimmie Johnson is doing in this year’s Chase…what Kyle has done in the truck series in 2009, now that’s domination. He is literally the Tylenol commercial there. Running just slightly over half of the races, Busch is in the top 20 in the Truck Series standings.
I’m not high on Cup drivers in lesser series, but that’s all pretty darn impressive. Besides, Kyle isn’t the only Cup guy there. If it were so easy, surely Carl Edwards or Denny Hamlin or Kevin Harvick could do it too.
When you add all of his lifetime NASCAR series wins, Kyle is already up to 58 at the age of 24. The idea that he could reach 200 NASCAR wins someday is still too far away to reasonably conceive, but it’s hardly a laughable proposition, even if many of the wins are in lesser series. I won’t get into the semantics of that argument now, that’s a whole other article in itself. Many years from now. But what it does suggest is that you can put Kyle inside anything with four wheels and he’ll drive them off the thing.
It is really mostly luck that cost Busch a chance at a Cup title this season, even if some weeks he just hasn’t had the car. At each restrictor plate race this season, the 18 car has led enough laps and charged through the field enough to make the announcers in the booth think he had the car to beat. In the Daytona 500, he got caught up in the multi-car wreck following Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s tangle with Brian Vickers. At Talladega he got spun by Jeff Burton and his car never recovered. At the second Daytona race, he was dominating all night and leading on the last lap when a split second of bad judgment relegated him to 14th. Those three finishes all could conceivably have been wins, and we’d be talking about Kyle Busch’s amazing six or seven win season and questioning again why the 18 team can’t seem to get it done in the Chase.
Still, some of the problems have been of his own making, like his costly cylinder-blowing tantrum at Chicago and cutting a tire in a spat with John Andretti. Ultimately that helped him miss the Chase too, and hopefully for his own sake he’s learned from the incidents. In the movie Seabiscuit, the young jockey is screaming about being fouled and that he isn’t going to let the other guy get away with it. Someone should tell Kyle that if the other guy’s a 40-to-1 shot, you let it go. Too often, Kyle’s temper gets the better of him.
I would venture to say that fate has simply conspired to keep Kyle Busch out of the playoffs. He himself acknowledged that God put him in this position. Maybe it’s because he needs to learn how to lose before he can win. And to get his out of control fire to win under control before it burns him out. He could take a lesson from his brother, because he won’t help himself by alienating a great crew chief. I’m not making any assumptions about that being why Pat Tryson left the No. 2, but Kurt will not likely be better off without him.
When I spoke with the nice fellows at the “Carey and Coffey Show” on ESPN radio last weekend (which is an informative and entertaining show even when I’m not on), they asked me what I thought about Kyle Busch and his post-race comments at Memphis after yet another second place finish. They mused that there was two schools of opinion on Kyle Busch’s attitude, that he’s a breath of fresh air for hating second place and showing it rather than smiling and thanking his sponsor, but that he’s also immature for not recognizing what a true achievement finishing second in a race at this level is.
I told them it was Buzz Aldrin Syndrome. How would you like to be the second man on the moon? That’s the irony of finishing second: no matter how great the achievement, you’re not the one who will be remembered the most that day.
But at the same time, I’d be happy to be the second most popular motorsports commentator out there, instead of being the motorsports journalism equivalent of a start-and-park. So I can see how people grow weary of a driver who mopes about being a runner-up too.
No driver likes to finish second, not even the guy who usually runs in the 20s every week. Second isn’t losing in that you’ve still beaten 41 other drivers, but to Kyle Busch, you might as well be last. And as much as people may admire that in his attitude, what even drivers like Jeff Gordon had to learn at this level is that no matter how good you are, you’re going to lose more than you win. A .333 batting average is Hall of Fame in baseball. Twelve Cup wins per season is barely even conceivable in today’s NASCAR, even if a driver can put up downright scary numbers in other series. When Kyle accepts that, he will become a better racecar driver.
He’s already pretty damn good. You don’t come from starting 41st to finishing fourth at Martinsville with just a good car. A driver has to stay out of trouble, take care of the car, and then be aggressive enough to move when the time is right. Those skills don’t always sound like hallmarks of Kyle Busch’s driving style, but he managed it. Maybe he is learning a little patience.
Busch may well win at Talladega this weekend, given how strong the 18 has been on plate tracks this year. Talladega is rarely the measure of driver greatness, but that would mean five wins, plus at least five truck wins, and a Nationwide title with at least seven more Ws, in a season that most everyone in the racing world, including Kyle and his owner, will remember as a failure.
Remember though, it was Kyle Busch that set the bar this high. Make no mistake about it. Missed playoffs or not, the kid can still race his rear end off.
Don’t bet against him in 2010.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Mostly good points. Kyle is a great racer but he needs to get his temper under wraps.
I didn’t know he was up to 58 wins already. But I don’t know if he can keep up this pace when he’s 30. It’s already looking like it’s taking a toll.
So just who is BUZZ ALDRIN?
And of course, as we all know, or should know by now: It is NA$CRAP themselves that make the “2nd class citizens”!
How? Glad you asked!
1. by ignoring throughout the season most of the 43 cars in each and every race. you know, numbers like 7, 43, 07, etc. etc. etc.!
2. by having a different interpretation of the rules for “the second class citizens”!
3. after 26 races, throwing 31 drivers into the automatic “2nd class citizen group”!
4. offering 12 “chase” positions” BUT only 10 drivers get to go “on-stage”! thus another two (2) drivers make the “2nd class citizen group”! or do they, the two (2), become the new 2nd class citizen, and the other 31 drop to third class status? (maybe they should get sponsored by the united states post office).
5. by “randomly” drug testing only the 2nd class citizens!
6. ask not what NA$CRAP can do for you, ask what you can do for NA$CRAP!
Read that $$$$$$$
7. only a 2nd class citizen will get his sponsor taken away by NA$CRAP so they can claim that sponsors product as the “official” something or another of NA$CRAP,, 2nd class citizens budget be damned, full speed ahead into NA$CRAP’S bank account!
8. only the “first class citizens” can afford to test their cars under the “no testing” policy now in place! again, the 2nd class citizens be damned!
9. when qualifying is rained out, the true 2nd class citizen just has to pack up and leave the track! no matter how much money spent to get to an event, not even a whisper of a chance to “qualify”, such as it is anyway with 35 cars locked in, this year and next!
10. if you don’t contribute directly to King Brians bank account, YOUR A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN!
WOW! The list is endless!
AND! Just so you know, I left out ANY and ALL references to how the media (read that TV) treats the “also-rans”!
In the media, these folks are not “2nd, or even 3rd class citizens”!
THEY SIMPLY DON’T EXIST!
The flip side is once the season opens at Daytona with Fox coverage Waltirps man love for Kyle Busch will be on full display. It was even evident at the prelude of the dream. Not looking forward to FOX coverage, already…
Like Tony Stewart before him, expect a different Kyle Busch next year. Read the article by Rebecca Gladden of insider racing news. One of the problems of nas$car is that it wants it’s drivers to be properly sanitized. No personality please. Robots. It seems Kyle has become more and more subdued as the year has gone on. I don’t like the change. Any sport needs a “bad guy”. Brian France says out of one side of his mouth that he wants the drivers to show emotion. The bigger side speaks volumes. “stay in line”. The fans have also spoken volumes on this account by turning out the sport. Kyle is a winner period.
Please refrain from making it seem like a great accomplishment for a Cup driver to go to the Nationwide or Truck series with top-notch equipment and whip up on the regulars. It only legitimizes the practice. The only wins that should count for a professional full time Cup driver are the ones they win in the Cup Series.
Bill B, I’m not condoning the practice. But Kyle is hardly the only one who does it, certainly in the Nationwide Series. When Busch finishes in the top three in just about every Nationwide race that he’s in, he’s beating a lot of Cup regulars out there that also have good equipment.
In the other 10 races of the No. 51 truck Kyle drives, all the other drivers combined have had fewer top tens than Kyle’s had wins. It’s not all just good equipment.
Yes, the competition is not as tough, but they aren’t pushovers there either.
Right on Bill B., you take these “millionaire” drivers and teams, the cup guys, that for fun race on Saturday, and we want to make them heroes!
That is EXACTLY why I do not like Mark Martin, as he was one of the first CUP drivers to barnstorm the Busch series on a regular basis with his high $$$ equipment and steal fame and fortune from the REAL Saturday race car drivers and teams!
Like stealing candy from a baby! And those guys have gotten FAT with all their stolen candy!
Hey Midasmicah, I agree totally about sanitization. What did Bass Pro say about not wanting Jamie Mac in their car next year? He doesn’t portray that “outdoorsy” type. I say that boy can drive and deserves a decent ride!
Isn’t Busch’s total sort of like a baseball player who hits 500 home runs in triple A, Japan and the Majors? Who cares? Only Cup wins count. He needs an attitude like Crash Davis.
AND! I like the lead-in sentence: “ People who cover NASCAR, like our own Kenny Wallace, are fond of saying things like “missing the Chase does NOT make you a second class citizen”.
My point is???
Who in the frick is “Kenny Wallace”?
I remember a Kenny Wallace that used to be very candid, and kinda provide a refreshing viewpoint on goins on at the tracks!
But NA$CRAP has gotten to Dear Ole’ Kenny, as he only SPEWS the company approved line!
The racing world run by NA$CRAP, according to Kenny, is just peachy and Rosy and NA$CRAP makes no mistakes!
So my suggestion, and a strong one at that, is please, please, do not try to pass Kenny Wallace off as an “expert”!
The only expertise Kenny has is to shill for NA$CRAP!
Kyle Busch was not dominant at the summer Daytona race. Stewart and Hamlin dominated, while Busch and Jimmie Johnson were usually just behind. He did lead the next to last lap though. Everyone likes to blame his block there for him missing the chase, but I’d say getting taken out in the Daytona 500 by an incident that had nothing to do with him after he did dominate that race played a bigger role.
When the history books look back at the 2009 season, they will note that NASCAR crowned a four-time champion. No one will even give a crap who finished 2-12. 13th is as good as 2nd which is as good as 30th.
And with any luck at all, the readers of the history books will say, “What’s the Chase?”
Meanwhile, if Kyle reaches 200 total NASCAR wins, which is well within his reach, that will make as much history as JJ’s 4 in a row.
And count me as one who loves Kyle’s attitude. You hate cookie-cutter drivers on cookie-cutter tracks, but let somebody step outside the box and you whine about what a jerk he is. Look in the mirror.