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.
The Voice Of Vito · Vito Pugliese · Tuesday May 6, 2008
Saturday’s Crown Royal presents The Dan Lowry 400 was a relatively quiet affair… for the first 95 percent of the evening, that is. At that point, Denny Hamlin had led all but one lap of 382 circuits around the 3/4-mile speedway in front of his hometown crowd. It had been a fairly smooth race, save for the Patrick Carpentier (or as Larry McReynolds says, “Partrick Compartier”) pinball imitation on Lap 231, followed by Michael Waltrip’s parking after mistaking Casey Mears for a Demolition Derby contestant on Lap 356.
But how quickly things can change in this sport. On lap 383, it was Hamlin’s tire going the way of the dinosaur, eventually causing the caution that would bunch up the field in time for the last few laps. Just like that, several teams who’d simply been watching Hamlin dominate throughout the better portion of the evening suddenly became contenders.
That change of luck led to the real fireworks, ones which started as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kyle Busch dueled fender-to-fender entering the third turn with just a handful of laps to go. The driver that Mike Joy has dubbed “Wild Thing” (but has deemed himself “Rowdy”) drove in a bit too deep, then started to lose control on the inside of Earnhardt. As he corrected his mistake, Busch did so right into the side of Junior’s No. 88; soon after, a legion of fans would wind up calling for the man’s head.
Let’s set the stage here: that contact was not intentional. It was simply good, hard, short track racing on the last lap that wound up going a little sideways — no pun intended. In fact, as Clint Bowyer and his Richard Childress Racing team celebrated their second victory together, Childress himself agreed it was just a racing incident between the two — and that the fans got their money’s worth for the show they put on.
But as Bowyer and Childress claimed their trophy in peace, attention was turned to the possible war brewing between the principles involved in the late race incident. There wound up being no reason to worry; however, the markedly different way the two drivers approached the situation was indicative of how both competitors are perceived and received by the fans and media alike.
Upon exiting his damaged No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet, Earnhardt was understandably dejected. All week long, he had been forced to endure the constant reminders that it had been two years since his last points-paying victory was scored at this very track. Most drivers involved in an on-track mess while riding that slump would have been understandably upset — and well within their right to direct a number of accusations and expletives towards the driver that took them out of contention for the win. Junior, however, was humble and modest in his assessment of what had just transpired.
“He gave me room off the outside of turn two, so I wouldn’t say that was intentional going into three, because if he had wanted to, he could have just thrown me in the fence off two,” Earnhardt said of the wreck. “We had been racing each other earlier and had no problems. I have done that before. That is what happens if Busch got loose underneath me. He almost cleared me off of two, but I got back side-by-side going into three. I tried to run him pretty tight running up top, and he just ran into me or got loose or whatever.”
Busch was actually quite contrite, as well, but not without a bit of the trademarked sarcasm that has traditionally been a staple of any Busch Brother soundbite.
“Well, for some reason, they are awfully confused,” Busch said of the one hundred thousand extended middle fingers directed towards his second-place effort. “I was in second place, still. So, I don’t know whether that’s too many Dale Jr. Budweisers or they are AMPed up or what.”
“For me, there’s nothing you can say, absolutely nothing,” Busch surmised. “If I apologize up and down, even though it may or may not be my fault, it would not make a difference. Dale got wrecked; he should have had a win tonight — quote, unquote.”
Busch’s rant was all well and good; but he then continued on in the media center.
“I’ll say it again,” as the driver continued to play peacemaker in his head — all while ruffling feathers at the same time. “It’s just unfortunate circumstances for [Junior] because he didn’t get a win, and for me because now I’ve got to put up with it.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but that last part — “I’ve got to put up with it” — is a microcosm of Busch’s perception among the vast majority of fans, even those who do not don the No. 88 or still have faded red and white No. 8 stickers on the rear window of their vehicles.
The knock against Kyle — and even that of his brother Kurt early on in his career — has been an air of arrogance that seems to pepper both statements and reactions toward other drivers — or even their own teammates — when something goes awry.
No one can deny that Busch is supremely talented. His ability to drive a car looser and faster than virtually anyone else in the field is a sight to behold. Far from just a wheelholder, he has a mechanical understanding of the car, a knowledge most drivers these days will never come close to comprehending. Unfortunately, his personality has never resonated with the majority of fans, the result of the attitude on display during the course of his few short years in the Cup Series. The sense of entitlement and the “world-revolves-around-me” approach to these situations is what makes many fans sneer and say, “Who is this guy?!”
Further evidence of Busch’s unenviable reputation was seen the night before in the Nationwide Series race. On the final lap, Steven Wallace made slight contact with Busch coming off of turn two. Wallace then faded high in turn three, while Busch drove back under him to capture third place. After the race, Kyle went over to confront Wallace as he sat in his car on pit road. While it is not completely clear what was said between the two, it was enough for Wallace to grab Busch by the helmet to get his attention. Afterwards, Busch was less than conciliatory, addressing Wallace as an “idiot.” Refusing to let the matter die, he made the remark that if Wallace races him like that in the future (…giving him a spot back?) he would hurt him — “wreck[ing] as many cars as I have to [in order to do it].”
Let’s get this straight; it was a slight wrinkling of Busch’s bumper, one of which that did not affect the result of his race, that was apparently enough for him to turn towards repeated character assassination for another driver on live television. It’s ironic that the same words were not voiced to Busch by Earnhardt in 2007 at Texas Motor Speedway, once Busch plowed into his car as it limped along the frontstretch following a spin.
In the scene that followed, Busch shrugged off any assistance of his crew and stormed away from his battered car that was in the process of repair; it was a move that set the wheels in motion for his release from Hendrick Motorsports. For as most everyone knows, it was Earnhardt, of all people, that was approached by Busch’s team to finish the race in their patched up car — after their driver was nowhere to be found.
Compare this behavior to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in his newfound role with the No. 88. Yes, many fans tire of hearing about “June-yer” ad nauseam, but by placing yourself in his Adidas Nomex footies for a moment, you begin to see the contrasting attitudes between NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver and the man he replaced.
The son of a legend, Earnhardt, Jr. was thrust into the spotlight and forced to bear the weight of an entire organization — and in some senses, an entire sport — after his father’s untimely death in the 2001 Daytona 500. Ever since, Junior has repeatedly endured those who have questioned his commitment and talent, as well as decisions he made personally and professionally during the course of those last seven years. If there ever was anyone with a legitimate gripe to vent, it would be Dale Earnhardt, Jr; but instead, he has maintained a quiet humility in the face of relentless scrutiny from an ever-growing contingent of media, sponsors, and fans alike.
On the flip side, Kyle Busch has a tremendous amount of talent and a very long, successful career ahead of him. At only 23 years of age, he is in position to establish records and statistics that will rival some of the best this sport has ever known. If only there were a wrench one could turn to change that attitude of presumptuous arrogance that seems to surround his every comment and action. If so, Busch would not have to endure the chorus of boos that welcome him during driver introductions, or after legitimate racing accidents such as the one that occurred on lap 397 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday evening.
If such a tool existed, the singular digits being offered by the fans would most likely be of the thumb or index variety; but that’s not the appendage over that he became intimately familiar with Saturday night.
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Love him or hate him, at least Kyle Busch is exciting. Dale Jr acts like a double shot of expresso would put him to sleep. I guess that would happen to anyone with so much unneeded weight on his shoulders.
It’s interesting, but if you watch the two racers in interviews, and you ask yourself which one looks happier, I’d say Kyle Busch. Why (aside from Dale not winning lately)? Because Kyle is still young enough and new enough not to have the weight of the fandom (some would say of NASCAR itself) on his shoulders, unlike Junior. I think that if it were anyone else, the expectations wouldn’t be as high, and I firmly believe it’s unfair to Junior to put as much expectation on him as his fans do. They should love him for being a very good man and a very good racer, and a classy guy, and let it go at that. Don’t act like he’s entitled to win or expect him to win every race. Bad breaks happen to him too, he’s not immune to them. Because ultimately he’s very much like every other racer out there – human. I think being son of The Intimidator is probably puts enough pressure on him to perform – to say nothing of the pressure he puts on himself. Give him a break. He will win again, and soon. In the meantime take consolation he’ll be a contender in the Chase this year.
As for Kyle, don’t forget his background – he’s 23, sure (and I know I had a fairly big stick up my butt still at 23 because I was young and still knew everything), but he was raised different than most of us. While we all did high school in four years, hung out with friends in the summers and after school, and in some cases went off to college by the time we were 23, he was pushing to finish HS in 3 years (a pretty remarkable feat) while spending all his free time at tracks and around cars so he could get where he is today. No time for friends. Translation: he still needs to learn the social skills that we all take for granted by that age, and boy it shows on occasion – like it did for his brother. Those will come with time. So we have a 23 year old who often acts much younger who also has incredible skills with a car (or anything else he chooses to race). That makes him a pretty unique and volatile mix, and frankly, I wouldn’t change him for the world because it’d be a lot more boring otherwise. I trust the other racers, NASCAR, and his owner-boss to deal with him if he gets too far out of line. It’s not the fan’s job to do that – throwing cans and fingers doesn’t help (glad I didn’t have a kid at the race on Saturday night that I’d be explaining that to). Yes, Kyle needs to grow up and get past growing up in his own little world, but he’s doing that, slowly but surely. I just hope he still speaks his mind once he’s done and doesn’t toe the party line – maybe Tony Stewart will rub off on him there, because honestly, when was the last time it was interesting listening to Kurt?
THANK you …its about time someone in the media called it like it IS in regards to the spoiled brat …could ya forward this to his head cheerleader D.W. ?
Mike in NH – I gotta say, everything you’ve posted has been really well thought out and well written. I couldn’t say it better.
What happened Saturday night between Jr. and Busch was just racin’ and it happens from time to time. No biggie.
What comes around goes around.
While I am ambivilent about the wreck, the Fox announcer’s act of fawning over Busch like he is the second coming of Dale Earnhardt is tiresome. He is not Dale Sr. and never will be.
Busch is a good driver – whether he becomes a great driver time will tell.
Go to youtube, do a Kyle Busch search and see all the awesome “loose car” saves that he makes… the guys drives like Stewart in his prime. Right on the edge of insanity and when you are on the wheel like that, it has got to be like tooting up a bag of caffeine. Kyle is undoubtedly the most talented driver on the circuit and I am a Stewart guy. I love the brash, non-conformist attitude. The people that are prone to root for the unpolished guy who lets it all hang out will naturally be drawn to Kyle. If Carl Edwards stays true to himself, that is a rivalry that could match bad boy to bad boy (on the track anyways… Edwards would give Busch a boxers nose real quick).
Ultimately, I get Busch’s attitude about Jr Nation… I don’t think Junior likes Jr Nation… It is like a cancer or a piece of toilet paper you can’t get off of your shoe… the Jr Nation element is embarrassingly emblematic of the stereotype that has haunted NASCAR fans forever. I do not want to be grouped in with that… I have two masters degrees and decided that I would pick my own drivers without going with the flow… Jr Nation folks seem to be pretty dull in appearance and somewhat slow… “Hey… that guy over there is holding up his middle finger… I’m gonna do it too… duh… drool… “yo fifi get me a turkey pot pie.. and a buh-wisa… “ No thank you… I like Jr and I cant root for him because of these dolts…
to Steve. Wow, what an elitist comment from you. Its suitable for an arrogant person such as you to root for an arrogant driver like KB. I have degrees and am ALSO a Jr fan. Lumping everyone together like some amorphous blob doesn’t take a ton of intelligence. It’s ignorant and shows a total lack of class.
It�s ironic that the same words were not voiced to Busch by Earnhardt in 2007 at Texas Motor Speedway, once Busch plowed into his car as it limped along the frontstretch following a spin.
Incorrect – Shrub plowed into Dale Jr. after Junior had slowed for a spinning Tony Stewart. Tony made a huge cloud of smoke with his spin. Dale Jr., who was running 2nd, slowed to avoid hitting Stewart.
Shrub slammed into him, maybe he thought he was only car on the track. Who knows, but you don’t leave the track while the crew is repairing it.
It’s not so much the fact that Dale Jr. got wrecked bu Kyle yet again, it’s that Shrub never really accepts the blame. And he is so brash and condesending toward anyone who even taps his bumper, yet drives carelessly and wrecks many other cars & trucks. He never gets the fact that he drives without using his brain.
Denny also should have additional points taken away for intentionly causing a caution in order to change the outcome of a race. If Denny pits, the wreck does not happen. Pain and simple.
We Dale Jr. fans cheer for our driver because he is a great driver, and a Class Act all the way.
Kyle never accepts blame?
“It was just a bummer deal — we were both just racing there. I apologize that that happened, and I hated that it did. And if I wanted to do it deliberately, I would have waited for the last lap where I probably could have still won the race. [Fans] were going crazy [in the stands] and you see it, but you don’t pay attention to it. I don’t know why they were telling me I was number one, I was in second place.” Kyle Busch, finished 2nd (at Richmond)
As for Texas, We can keep flogging him for something he did last year because that’ll always be there to flog him on, or we can move on. But I guess it’s part and parcel of being a designated bad guy that some folks will throw the hate at you no matter what; fortunately, it doesn’t seem to bother him. Maybe that’s why some folks get so bothered by it.
Oh, by the way, I loved his “number one” comment (regarding the fingers being pointed at him) – probably spinned up the fans giving him the finger even more, which is what they deserve for acting like they’re on an LA freeway. ;)
Mike in NH – Read over your sentence again Kyle did not accept the blame he apologized that it happened. He did not say I’m sorry it was my fault. I have never heard it was my fault come out of his mouth have you really heard him after all these years say it was his fault?
I was up in the Commonwealth Tower surrounded by Jr. fans and did not see anyone giving the 1 finger salute. They were yelling/screaming a few things but no fingers. I think Busch tells a few stories either that or we were in the nice Jr. nation stands.
I like to look around in the stands and around the track to see whom is fans of who esp. in certain areas. I have yet to see a KB fan proudly wearing his attire. I thought I would at least see some M&M stuff on kids but no.
Denny had alot of course and also Sadler.
I agree that Kyle is basically still (the old saying) young and dumb. He can drive the wheels off a car but he needs some reins pulled on him. But not as many as Nascar pulled on Kevin Harick. They took to much fire out of him. Kyle makes no bones about the fact that he will wreck anyone for a win (after the NW race). That is not cool – he has enough talent to win without wrecking people on purpose. His brother had to also have the reins pulled in on him.
Any owner would rather come home with a 2nd place car than a wrecked car in the back of the field.
You know, we probably have the technology to design computers to drive 43 cars around a circuit, pushing them to the limits of tire pressure and track temperatures, transmit data back to the pits for the next pit stop, etc etc. However, nobody outside of MIT would watch because racing fans love the human element and how they work with their machines and pit crews to cross the finish line first.
I’m a Jeff Burton fan because I admire the way he keeps an even keel almost all the time, whether things are good or bad. At the same time, I don’t want every driver to be a Jeff Burton clone. I’d go so far to say that I wish we had a few more Kyle Busch’s out there. People with passion, and even arrogance make the mix interesting and give us something to talk about while waiting for the next green flag. I don’t ever want to lose that.
I agree with alison, on the remarks that steve made!
I am originally from Nevada and at first I was all for a home state driver, but as time went on his, lets say lack of car control, disreguards to drivers, and plain crap attitude has totally changed my feelings tward him. In my opinion he needs to go back to driving his go carts again and hopefully his attitude and driving skills will improve. Look what happened during the Nationwide series race, How was his attitude when he went into Steve Wallace’s pits? Kyle is two faced!
He looked like a scared rabbit when Steven Wallace grabbed that chin guard on the helmet. He actually ran backwards with them crap filled eyes as big as saucers. I have said it for the past few years and I will say it again. The Busch boys are only Bodine brothers in drag, or shall I say, just like a little bird, all mouth and full of
Mary4Jr88, remember back in Bristol 2004 I think it was, when DaleJr purposefully spun out his car to bring out a caution, and admitted doing so on his radio? I remember. Still think he’s better than Denny Hamlin?
Sonny and Marc, I dont think Kyle was scared of Steven, but simply surprised that the guy grabbed his helmet and jerked him around. Kyle then pulled back and Steven let go, so Kyle went flying backwards. Your perception clouds the reality.
I would have loved to have seen Steven get out of that car in time to knock a few spuds off of “Mr. Potatoe Head”. Kyle should have a talk with Kurt about crossing the line with other drivers. I’m sure there are a few “old school” attitudes left out there. If BF stands by his words perhaps this punk will get straightened out like the fans middle fingers.
If Kyle Busch has a chip on his shoulder and a tendency to get defensive its no wonder. People have been booing him for as long as he’s been in Nascar — just because he had the wrong last name and drove for the wrong owner. If his name was Kyle Smith and he’d started with Gibbs he’d be everyone’s darling.
Kyle knows he’s going to be booed at no matter what he does. So why shouldn’t he go for the win and not worry about being politically correct? That’s what fans and sportswriters have said they wanted — you hypocrites.
Kevin, your lack of perception prohibits your reality. I take it you are fairly new to racing and grabbed on because its cool. Do you know a dipstick from a tail pipe?
I’ve been watching and participating in drag racing for 20 years, but I’ve been a NASCAR fan for only 6 years. I work for a company that supplies engine parts to NHRA and NASCAR racers. My father and I built the engines in our drag cars. I do know a little bit of what I’m talking about. I call them how I see them, same as everyone else.
I also have been driving dirt track cars for several years at my local dirt track and if I would have acted/raced like Kyle….I would have expected to get my face smashed in after the race. So I also know a little about what they are talking about. All I was saying is what was the difference in his attitude/racing from the Nationwide series to the Sprint cup series. Oh, and he was upset that a crew member from Jr came over into his pits….what about when he went into Steven’s? That’s why I called him two faced.
I thought about this all last week and the sports media have to love KB for one thing it gives them and the fans something to get all rilled up about, without that it would have been a pretty boring race, and nobody would have watched “Wind Tunnel” What irritates me is when he screws up he’s too ashamed to admit it and covers it up with attitude.