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.
Thompson In Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Wednesday July 4, 2007
At the age of 22, Kyle Busch has already had more on-the-job drama and been required to make more serious career decisions than most race car drivers twice he age. And to date he has been ill-equipped to properly deal with the off-track demands that have confronted him. But now, for all-intents-and-purposes having been fired at Hendrick Motorsports, arguably the premier NASCAR organization, Kyle Busch once again finds himself having to make critical decisions concerning his future in stock car racingâ€¦and this time he needs to get it right. The tolerance he has been granted due to his inarguable talent as a driver has about been exhausted. It is time now for Kyle to grow up, lose the attitude and carry himself as a professional appreciative of where he has gotten to date.
There is a general belief, particularly among non-fans, that the youngest driver to ever win a NASCAR Cup race often displays immaturity and arrogance, as well as possessing a certain sense of entitlement. This opinion has served to create a substantial anti-Kyle Busch sentiment among not only fans of the sport, but some competitors as well. An undesirable perception eerily similar to that his older brother, and 2004 Cup Champion Kurt Busch has likewise saddled himself with. Charges that when more closely scrutinized seem possibleâ€¦and explainable.
Kyle Busch has every reason to believe that he IS entitled. Because he has been! What he has been taught since at least age fifteen is that if he wants it he can have it. And even more distressing is that his lessons since at least his teenage years have included courses in, "rules don't apply to Kyle Busch."
The story is an old one, but warrants revisiting: As a 15-year-old it was discovered that Kyle, with his father's assistance, had been deceiving track officials in and around Las Vegas, NV. concerning his correct age. At the time Kyle had been campaigning Kurt's old NASCAR Grand American and I.M.C.A modifieds. Tom Busch, father to the Busch brothers, presented local NASCAR officials with what turned out to be a forged birth certificate when challenged as to his earlier claims that Kyle was 16-years-old, the minimum age requirement to compete in those sanctioning organizations.
When later interviewed by local reporters about the bogus document and asked for an explanation as to why he perpetrated the deceit, his answer was, “I guess I shouldn’t have said he was 16,” and then added, apparently with concern as to what others might think of his actions, “I don’t want to look like a felon who doctored up car titles. I just wanted Kyle to become a better (racecar) driver.” Apparently clueless as to the kind of poor example he had set for his son in respect to truthfulness and respect for rules.
And then, instead of acknowledging the wrongness of his actions, or offering an apology, he rationalized that, "By saying Kyle was 16 a year earlier than he was to get him some seat time makes me wish I had the money to (go to a track where he could) run a different division where age is not such an issue", offered the elder Busch.
Tom Deery, a NASCAR vice president who oversaw the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at the time commented on what the likely punishment meted out to Busch would be, “The first punishment would be to lose their ability to compete with a NASCAR license immediately.” And then Deery added, “(Beyond that) there’s nothing prescribed. A lot depends on the circumstances. I’d say the first issue we have to question the parent about is what they’re trying to teach a child when they change a birth certificate. I don’t know if that’s the best lesson you want your children to learn.”
Rest assured Mr. Deeryâ€¦ it is not!
But apparently having been caught red-handed by lower level NASCAR officials of lying and presenting falsified documents to the sanctioning body was no big deal. Just months later, now 16-years old, Kyle Busch was competing in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, driving for his big brothers team owner, Jack Roush. Kyle's underage accomplishments in the modifieds, as well as his success in the Legend division since the age of 13 had people buzzing that he may be every bit as talented as his older brother, who was impressing Roush, and NASCAR as a whole with his tremendous abilities. Roush, deep-pocketed, and with a nose for talent entered into a development agreement with Kyle's parents to develop Kyle as a racecar driver.
But the younger Busch's development plan, utilizing the Craftsman Truck Series was interrupted after six CTS races when NASCAR mandated minimum age restrictions for all its touring series of 18-years-old. Leaving both Busch and Roush with the choices of delaying Busch's development for almost two years, or finding an alternative race series to gain Kyle more wheel time in stock cars. It was decided that the teenager would compete in the American Speed Association (ASA), a short-track race organization that helped to hone the race skills of Roush superstars Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth in their earlier years. Roush then funded an ASA team for Busch in 2002, where he gained valuable experience and finished eighth in driver points that year.
All plans were go, as it was understood that sometime after turning 18 in 2003, the Roush and Kurt Busch partnership would return to the Craftsman Truck series. At which time they would develop Kyle through that series, as well as the Busch Series with hopes of eventually competing in the Nextel Cup Series. A well thought out and methodical process to allow Kyle to gain the experience and knowledge required of a young man on track to compete in the most demanding auto racing series in the country. The plan seemed wise considering Kyle's youth.
But surprise! Shortly before Kyle's eighteenth birthday he announced that he had changed his mind with regards to racing in the big leagues for Jack Roush. He would be going Busch Series racing with Hendrick Motorsports. Citing as a reason for his decision, not wanting to race in the shadow of his by then, successful big brother at Roush racing. However, cynics have suggested that Hendrick no doubt enticed the youngster with a quicker path to the Cup series. A more expeditious plan than Roush had mapped out for him. The Hendrick career plan would have him bypassing the CTS, and stopping only briefly in the Busch Series on his way to NASCAR's top division.
With Kyle's recent unexpected availability next season, and the much publicized tumultuous and controversial tenure and eventual defection of his brother from the Roush stable in 2006, a reporter recently asked Jack Roush if he would be interested in signing Kyle for 2008. I have no information as to whether that reporter was able to enunciate the question without giggling or not, but Roush's answer certainly was predictable. "I’m not interested in Kyle Busch,” Roush said. “I’ve been there and I’ve done that. No, I don’t care to elaborate." And there seems to be no need for Roush, given his checkered history with Kyle and the Busch family in general, to say more.
Talent or not, the younger Busch brother has burned some pretty big bridges in the NASCAR community. Roush and Hendrick have far reaching business relationships within a lot of NASCAR shops. Those shops need not bother to call either one of them seeking a positive job recommendation for Kyle. Joe Gibbs Racing, the third of the premier championship team owners in NASCAR will not even offer a comment on Kyle as a candidate for a driving position. A silence that alone speaks volumes on their negative view of the young man.
Kyle Busch has been thrust into a demanding role as a high profile driver in the elite ranks of NASCAR. His maturation rate has not yet caught up with his rapid ascent through the ranks. He is still in some ways a kid being asked to conduct himself as a polished adult. He does try, but not knowing how; his efforts often fall short of his intention to be thought of as confident young man and are instead viewed as arrogance.
Still, Busch will be given further opportunities to drive quality equipment in the future. Among those reported to be courting him are Richard Childress Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Ganassi Racing, Ginn Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. All still apparently believing that Kyle's emotional development can catch up with his inarguable talent behind the wheel.
“If you make a simple comparison, it’s not like the kid’s Mike Tyson,” Said Ray Evernham, a team owner interested in signing Kyle Busch. “He’s not out grabbing women and doing drugs. He has a temper, and he says things once in a while. To me, that’s not really a bad thing.
“It’s hard to take a guy you want to be total fire and drive that thing on the line every minute, and then expect him not to be emotional. You’ve just got to try to help somebody like that control his emotions.”
But NASCAR isn't professional Boxing, the NBA or even the NFL. The sanctioning body, sponsors and fans expect far more from their athletes than virtually any other sport in America. Kyle Busch is not consistently conducting himself up to that standard. And he needs to get there quickly. Really, how many more chances will he be afforded?
Evernham is correct; Kyle Busch is not that bad. But he does need help as he continues to grow emotionally. The next team owner that signs the young man needs to be mindful of that fact and be prepared and committed to helping the young man become truly a man.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Interesting article, Tommy. I wasn’t aware of the underage driving situation. That was good stuff.
While Iâ€™m not a big fan of the Shrub Brothers, sometimes I think both of them have gotten a bit of a bad rap. They were perceived as having an attitude. The Busch boys have both done some dumb things—Kurt discussing his plans to wreck Jimmy Spencer over the radio; Kyle going back to the minor leagues for a weekend of fun and making a horse’s heinie out of himself—but on balance, are they really that bad?
Kyle left the garage area out of frustration when the 5 was wrecked and gets crucified for “walking out on his team.” Aric Amirola walks out on his team because—rightly or not—he’s mad AT them, and gets nothing but sympathy.
I guess all these guys live in a fishbowl and there is no guarantee that those of us glaring in at them are going to treat them fairly.
Given that Tony Stewart has done far worse, far more often and bought his way back into good graces with charitable contributions, itâ€™s probably worthwhile to remind readers what Kyle did with the purse from his first Cup win.
reading this article (a nice one btw, Tommy), all i could remember was Kyle throwing a temper tantrum and his HANS device at Casey Mears at Lowes(?) a while back. sure, the kid can get on the wheel and drive the damn thing, but i’d follow suit with Roush and leave that well enough alone. yeah, he is the youngest to win in Cup, but Gordon was young once and i don’t ever remember that crap from him. it just makes me wonder why no one at HMS has taken him under their wing … or has he burnt those bridges as well?!
little off topic … don’t he look like Gumby in that pic on the home page? seems that gene pool has been tainted in many ways!!!
IMO, Roush’s comments are nothing but sour grapes. He wanted an 18yo to sign a 9-year contract and wouldn’t budge on the duration. Its not like Roush has a sterling record on keeping employees happy and content to stay in his stable either.
More than one current Cup driver, Carl Edwards in particular, started their racing career underage. Carl’s dad didn’t forge a birth certificate though — he entered the race in his name but put Carl in the firesuit and in the car. And Tom Busch isn’t alone in the forged document stuff — Ryan Newman’s dad forged pit passes to get them closer to the action at Cup races they attended.
Kyle certainly does have some maturing to do. But just about every 22yo does. And for every high-profile problem he’s had there are good things that don’t get the same kind of attention.
Falcon325 reminded us that Kyle donated all his winnings from his first win to the hurricane victims. I’ll add that he didn’t try to take credit for the idea but forthrightly admitted that he’d been impressed by Carl Edwards doing the same with his Busch purse the day before.
Kyle has a foundation http://www.kylebuschfoundation.org/ serving underprivileged children.
From his very first year in Cup Kyle started putting his money not into expensive “toys” but into bringing a development driver, the son of one of his Las Vegas competitors, up through the ranks.
Kyle has always gotten on very well with his crew. There was a report during the off season that one of his crew said he’d go to a different team rather than be reassigned to a different Hendrick driver.
In a time when people complain that modern drivers never touch their cars, Kyle is the only top-tier driver who is regularly and routinely seen working on the car.
And its not just his car either — the last time we were in Daytona during Speedweeks Kyle’s idea of a good way to spend the time between Busch practice and the duels was to run over to the truck garage and literally turn wrenches for the 15 truck.
Does Kyle need to learn greater discipline, maturity, control, and judgment? Of course. Could many of us have done as well as he has in the situation he’s been in of having to spend what might have been his college years under 24/7 media coverage? I strongly doubt it.
1st off about the underage thing. Lets remember the busch family is not a nascar legacy family and had to do what they had to do. Also remember Kyle came to nascar at 16. Gordon came at 20. Big difference. The fact is the bucsh brothers are the whipping boys of nascar. They arn’t from nascar families and don’t pass for models. But whats amazing is they get near as much press as Tony Stewart, or Gordon.
And one other point about Gordon not acting like lil busch. He himself said he didn’t leave the trailer for the first half of his career because everyone hated him so much.
Bush brothers are just Bodines reincarnated
“In a time when people complain that modern drivers never touch their cars, Kyle is the only top-tier driver who is regularly and routinely seen working on the car.”
Yeah, that’s why Lil E ended up finishing the race in Kyle’s car awhile back. Cause Kyle was right up in there turning wrenchs with the rest of the crew after he wrecked it.
Oh, that’s only one time ya say? Well, it would seem to me that that is THE time you should be doing it. Getting it back on the track to get points.
Personally, (and take it for what its worth as arm chair pyscho-analysts have informed me that I harbor an irrational, “member-envy” style hatred for the Busch brothers) I am ecstatic that Kyle is out of the 5 car. Now I wont have to buy “ghetto” frosted flakes and can go back to my favorite, Kelloggs!
To go from Terry Labonte to Kyle Busch…wow! Not Grrrrrrrrreat!
There was another guy who used to “sneak” into races at Darlington, he too was under age in fact they (NASCAR) threw him out serval times, but he just kept coming back, Finaly he made it, won eighty four races, four Daytona 500’s, three championships in a row, his name was Cale, I recall he drove like that also only there wasn’t a camera or a mike everwhere you turned. Also a guy named A.J, wasn,t the most pleasent person to be around when things didn,t go his way, nice guy just don’t “p… him” off. Kinda like Tony S. Just recovered from watching, the long drawn out 400 at Daytona, 150 laps of “ho hum”, ending with the best finish I’ve seen in a long time! Mark was robed in Febuary. Nice to see some of the support players have a staring roll and the stars just part of the show. This kid, Kyle can drive! Sideways at 190 and not lifting! He needs to read Cale’s book, my son brought it home when he was a kid, there is a good message for all young athletes in there they ought to read. Bill Davis needs to sign this kid, that would give Rick Hendrick a real “s… burger” to chew on, when he turns Bill Davis Racing into the other dyansty from Randelman, (rumor was that Hendrick “stole Gordon from Davis). Also Toyota would finally have a young driver that can push a car beyond it’s limits and bring it back so their enginieers can r&d it and make their program stronger.
I wish you had taken the gloves off. When you told me you were doing the article on Shrub, I was expecting a much, ummm, “stronger” piece. This kid is a jerk! If I was a car owner, I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole! He’s a spoiled rotten brat who someone needs to sit down and help. He is talented behind the wheel. He’s proven that. But I am so tired of the belly-achin’!
Kurt has turned the corner, and has really matured into a sensible driver. It’s good to see him having some good runs recently. I know even he has tried to talk to Kyle, but it doesn’t seem to help. I don’t know what it will take.