The Frontstretch: Five Points to Ponder: Nashville/Pocono Edition by Mike Lovecchio -- Monday June 8, 2009

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Five Points to Ponder: Nashville/Pocono Edition

Mike Lovecchio · Monday June 8, 2009


Kyle Busch is about as “Rock ‘N Roll” as Clay Aiken

Add Saturday night’s guitar smashing episode to the long list of reasons why a number of NASCAR fans absolutely hate Kyle Busch. The victory lane celebration left musicians everywhere cringing at the sight of a custom Gibson Les Paul being smashed into oblivion a la Pete Townshend and left NASCAR fans in awe at the sight of a driver smashing a trophy seconds after winning it. I was like the many fans who couldn’t wait to read what everybody was saying about this seemingly classless act the next morning, but after sleeping on it and reading Sam Bass’ (the artist who designed the guitar) comments I have since softened my stance. Sure, Busch could have thought of a less dramatic way to make sure his team all got a piece of the trophy, but that’s not Shrub’s style. In the end, I look at this way:

1) Busch’s intentions were to give a piece of his trophy to each of his team members – a nice gesture.

2) Sam Bass told reporters that as soon as the two got together, Busch told him that he meant no disrespect – an honest apology.

3) Bass was not upset with Busch after the two talked – if Bass has no problem with Busch, and he would be the one to have the problem, then I have no problem with him.

I’m not saying I agree with what Busch did, I don’t. There were 42 other drivers who would have done anything to hold that guitar. But, with that said, give the guy a break…there were no hurt feelings.

Double-file restarts a hit

It was one of those no-brainers. As soon as we got the official word that the Cup Series would feature “Shootout Style” double-file restarts, everyone realized that it would liven up the racing. Sure, the whole wave around for the lap down cars created some confusion, but all-in-all, every restart was exciting. There was side by side and 3-wide racing for about 10 laps before the field would eventually string out over VERY long green flag runs. It was cool to see the new rule go into effect at a track with a frontstretch as wide as Pocono’s, but the thought of doubling up cars at Martinsville or Bristol sounds even more entertaining.

TNT Takes Over

This week’s race saw the first of six races to be broadcast by TNT, after taking over from FOX, and based off of first impressions, I was pleasantly surprised. They showed a lot of side-by-side racing throughout the field and handled the entire late-race fuel mileage run perfectly, including telemetry on how eventual race winner Tony Stewart was saving gas. There were no furry creatures, only “RaceBuddy” who actually enhanced my raceday experience. More about the broadcast will be covered in Phil Allaway’s TV critique here on the Frontstretch tomorrow, but based on immediate reactions, Frontstretch LIVE BLOG viewers voted unanimously (100%) that the TNT broadcast topped those done by FOX.

Kligerman’s wild day

For readers who frequent this column, you may have noticed that I have in the past mentioned developmental drivers who have caught my eye. As a guy who has not followed the ARCA Re/MAX Series that closely this season, I’ll admit I’d never heard the name Parker Kligerman until this weekend’s race at Pocono. I wasn’t tuning in to see some phenom, he just simply caught my eye. The 18 year old Penske Racing developmental driver went toe-to-toe with Joey Logano in the mid-part of the race and eventually got by and held off Logano before running into tire problems…this all happened on the same day as his prom. Kligerman is a former open-wheel standout who has already found success in ARCA with one win this season, and he currently sits 2nd in points, although he’s buried on the Penske Racing developmental driver depth chart behind Justin Allgaier. He may be a few years away from competing regularly in NASCAR’s national touring series’, but from what I saw, he’s definitely got the talent.

Whoops, he did it again. As an astute Frontstretch blog fan pointed out, even a new crew chief can’t make Dale Jr hit his marks on a pit stop. LIVE BLOG comment of the race

Each week, I will further expand on some of the more interesting fan comments from our weekly LIVE Cup race blog. Here’s one of the more interesting comment’s from this week’s blog:

“Sorry, Hendrick — swapping crew chiefs can’t make your driver pit correctly.”

— Stephen, on yet another Dale Earnhardt Jr. pit problem

I don’t know if he practices pit stops with the crew at the Hendrick headquarters during the week or not, but this is really getting out of hand. It seems every week that something goes wrong for the pilot of the No. 88 team on pitroad. I know the crew chief change was a step in the right direction, but I believe there’s a direct correlation between Earnhardt’s pitroad miscues and lack of success on the track.

P.S.: Our live blog pops up again next Sunday as we break down the racing action from Michigan! Come join the fun!

Notes to Ponder

SHR’s quick success: I’m sure a lot of ink will be used this week on Tony Stewart’s win, but Stewart Haas Racing’s immediate success – even with Hendrick support – is remarkable.

Young guns at Nashville: Although Kyle Busch won the guitar and Carl Edwards finished 3rd, they were the lone Cup drivers competing in this week’s Nationwide race at Nashville. Instead, we had guys like Steven Leicht and Brad Coleman. This is why I wish the Nationwide series would run more standalone races.

Another Truex: Ryan Truex (brother of Martin) won this week’s Camping World East race at Watkins Glen.

Continued solid runs: Shout-outs to David Reutimann, Marcos Ambrose and Sam Hornish Jr. for continuing solid seasons with top 10s this weekend.

No fourth team for Penske: Despite rumors that Penske Racing would start a fourth team for Justin Allgaier, Roger Penske said this week he has no plans to do so.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


©2000 - 2008 Mike Lovecchio and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Dans Mom
06/08/2009 07:30 AM

It was Rowdy’s trophy. He should be able to do with it as he chooses.

Kinda with Tony had done the same thing with the “Fox Cup” the week before. Just goes to show you how useless those mantle-space-fillers really are.

06/08/2009 08:31 AM

EVERYONE complains about the lack of color in the sport today…and then trashes Kyle Busch for being the most colorful driver since Dale Earnhardt, including his underachieving son.

I thought the guitar smashing was great, and so did the Les Paul people.

Pie face
06/08/2009 10:39 AM

Anyone who thinks what Kyle did is great must be sick in the head. That shows lack of respect and Joe Gibs should take Kyle to the woodshed for a lesson about growing up.As someone said Kyle should have auctioned off the Gipson for charity. When will this spoiled brat grow up. I am sure his parents and grandparrents are truely ashamed of his behavour as well as employies of Gibbs racing.

06/08/2009 11:38 AM

Man! Look at the kyleee lovers come out of the wood work! He could have sold that guitar for a ton of money and gave the proceeds to his crew members to divide!….Now that would have really made them happy! He is a punk, jerk, and a embarrassment to his parents!!

MJR in Springfield VA
06/08/2009 01:41 PM

Kyle Busch…he is a self-centered, egotistical, arrogant jerk…and an “action detrimental to stock car racing”

06/08/2009 02:31 PM

If you took your eyes off Jr for a second, you would have seen JJ slide through his pit and MW did a loop-de-loop. Those are the ones I saw. There were probably several more I didn’t see. All 43 drivers do these same things, but Jr’s are the only ones that get critized. WHY?

06/08/2009 02:42 PM

because both drivers finished well ahead of the anointed one???? Moreover, I LOVE Kyle Busch. He is the only thing interesting about NASCAR these days.

06/08/2009 03:43 PM

All you JERK lovers who justify his actions by saying Sam Bass was O.K. with it should read the article on
Seems neither Sam or the race sponsors were very understanding. In the end I think this is going to be a bigger PR nightmare for Mr. Potato Head than he thought. Two steps forward, one BIG step back.
Hope Jimmy Spencer is in the next Victory Lane with Shrub.

Casey B
06/08/2009 03:56 PM

And because of the three you mention ginger, JR Waltrip and JJ, JR is very consistent at botching his pit road visits, Waltip is… well Waltip, self explanatory, and rarely does JJ mess up his pit stops. That is why JR is under such scrutiny. It seems like you must be a JR fan if you are defending him which is completely cool with me but are you really comparing JR to Waltrip? I would think twice about that…

Drunk France
06/08/2009 05:41 PM

Screw you Kryle. I hate it when you and these other cup drivers run the lower tier races. You are all taking money from these teams just so you can have fun. What a smart thing to say with these tough times “I’ll just buy more”. You rich prick, why not buy me and my struggling family some food to eat. By the way Kryle, 200 wins only counts in CUP. You are only really racing a handful of other teams in the lower series, especially truck. You are a long way from The King’s mark and will never get there. Also with a bit more bad luck you may miss the chase garbage. Boy won’t that be something. You’ll probably not even show up for the last 10 races and run home to your mansion to hide and cry yourself to sleep every night. Please drug test Brainle$$ France. You know what I’m talking about Mouth. The NA$CRAP prduct these days is trash. FREE MAYFIELD AND CARL LONG

06/08/2009 05:52 PM

Just Nascar Now and Sam Bass is not very happy about with Kyle dousche.

06/08/2009 06:46 PM

The reaction to Kyle, AGAIN!, is one of the reasons nascar is losing ground.

Nascar needs about 20 more Kyles in the cars.

Go Kyle! Piss everyone off! Lately nascar fans have become too holy for my taste.

06/08/2009 07:42 PM

It’s not that we’re trying to be “Holy”, we just remember when this sport was rich in history. And with that history came the respect of the all the participants. The belief that, because of that history and the MEN who came before them, it was an honor to compete and to be a fan. I feel sorry for the newcomers to this sport, OOPS “show”, that the way things are now are believed to be the way it always was. I think if those newcomers would take the time to read a book,or even the many websites, about the history of the sport then perhaps they might understand the passion and disgust of us who have been around for awhile.

Larry Burton
06/08/2009 09:19 PM

I can’t believe for one minute that Sam Bass was happy with what Kyle did to that custom designed Guitar much less the Nashville Track Staff seeing that beautiful one of a kind guitar destroyed like that by some millionaire punk idiot brainless kid. If he wanted to give his crew a piece of that trophy then take it back to the shop and bust it up and give it to them. Nashville Speedway has done something special for a trophy that any other driver in Nascar would be proud to own and display and this idiot basically insults Nashville Speedway and all other drivers who would love to own a trophy like that. If Kyle wants to smash trophies, wait till he wins the Daytona 500 and a Nascar Championship and then smash them like he did that Guitar. I bet you won’t see that happen though. Yea, I’ll bet Joe Gibbs and Kyle’s Parents are real proud of him. There is no way anyone can justify what Kyle did with that Guitar and like I said I don’t believe for one minute that Sam Bass approved of what he did. Sam might have told Kyle he did but he was just being politically correct. No way Sam would have like for his creation to be distroyed like that. That was a very, very, special trophy and it’s a shame Kyle doesn’t have sense enough to realize it. I’m serious about this, Nashville Speedway needs to have two Guitars next year. The custom one for drivers who know how to appreaciate art and tradition and a 25 dollar one to award Kyle if he wins the race. There is no way I would give Kyle another Custom Guitar if he won.

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