In a Nutshell: The Buschwhackers put on a heck of a show Saturday in the heart of America. The race started with Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards having a great duel for the lead for the first nine laps, then it became the Matt Kenseth show. Kenseth led the race from lap 10 through lap 34 and then was part of the group that swapped the lead throughout the middle of the race which included Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Brian Vickers. Vickers once again had trouble on pit road during a pit stop while the caution was displayed for oil on the track at lap 127 and was never able to fully recover. Kenseth resumed the lead on lap 146 and held it until lap 183. Kyle Busch overcame a pit-road speeding penalty that sent him to the back of the longest line and caught back up to Kenseth, ultimately taking the lead on lap 184 and holding onto it for the rest of the race.
Edwards had another disappointing race after cutting a tire while trying to pass Kenseth on a restart. His fender was heavily damaged when the cut tire tore apart and he spent much of the second half of the race trying to get back into contention. On lap 153 something broke on the car and put him into the turn 4 wall very hard, totaling his car. After the accident, Edwards applauded Kenseth mockingly, obviously still upset over the way Kenseth raced him on the restart which ultimately caused his difficulties for the day.
Kyle Busch won for the third time in six races, followed to the line by Kenseth, Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray. The rest of the top 10 was comprised of Hamlin, Paul Menard, Burton, Vickers and Biffle.
Who Should Have Won: Kenseth. Kenseth led the most laps in the race and was the class of the field for most of the day. He took shots from everyone who led a lap in the race and overcame them to get back into the lead. Unfortunately his car was a little too loose at the end of the race and he was unable to hold off Busch when it mattered most. Vickers also has a claim to having a real shot at winning the race, but once again was bitten by a bad pit stop that took him out of contention.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race This Weekend
1) Isn’t there a way to engineer oil lines so that they won’t come loose?
No fewer than three cars had to come to pit road during the race with loose oil lines during the race on Saturday. There are cars that are force to pit every weekend because an oil line comes loose and most of the time, they end up having some sort or damage or are put so many laps down while it is being fixed that they cannot recover. With the millions of dollars that are being poured into this sport on a weekly basis, someone should be able to engineer a coupling that doesn’t come loose during competition.
2) Can hostility bred during a Busch race have a negative impact on an organization?
Edwards tried to pass Kenseth on a restart and contact between the two resulted in a cut tire for Edwards that destroyed his front fender and ultimately seemed to contribute to the accident that took him out of the race. Edwards was obviously bothered by the incident during interviews after he fell out of the race. Kenseth was asked about the incident after the race and felt no remorse and didn’t seem to be bothered that Carl was upset with him. Something like this could have lasting effects on the Roush Fenway organization for some time to come.
3) Will NASCAR really use the same CoT chassis in Busch that they currently mandate in Cup?
It was noted during the race that NASCAR is going to implement a CoT-style car in the Busch Series in the near future, although there will be some differences. The discussion is that the chassis will be exactly the same as the chassis utilized in the Cup Series. Many people have thought that once the CoT was installed for all Cup races, it might limit the amount of Buschwhackers crossing over into the Busch series on a weekly basis. If the chassis is exactly the same for both series, with only body modifications, it would seem as though the Cup teams would be encouraged to put drivers into the Busch Series races rather than discouraged.
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
Edwards took another hit in the points championship with a 38th-place finish after crashing out of the race with hard impact in turn 4 on lap 153. His lead is now 696 points over David Reutimann. The poor finish by Edwards also allowed the No. 29 car of Richard Childress Racing to reassume the owner championship points lead thanks to Burton’s eighth-place finish. The No. 29 team is now in the points lead by 54 points.
Brad Keselowski‘s was having another strong race in the JR Motorsports No. 88 before two separate incidents put him out of the race. He made contact with the wall twice, the second time severely damaging the car and putting him out of the race on lap 178.
Buschwhackers in the race: 18
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 542 of 1,283
Buschwhackers finishing in the top 10: 10
Buschwhackers finishing in the top 10 YTD: 217 of 300
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 26 of 29
Buschwhackers ranked in the top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 6
“I was a little bit upset at him [Matt Kenseth] for what happened earlier, but my guys told me on his radio he expressed that he didn’t do it on purpose. Hopefully, that’s the case. I guess that now I’m on the outside watching, I hope he wins the thing – either him or Clint would be fine. Just a long day for us. I just want to thank everybody in the stands that came here to cheer for me today, and hopefully we’ll put on a good show tomorrow for them.” – Carl Edwards talking about what happened with Matt Kenseth
“I don’t really know exactly what his problem was. I guess, early in the race he went outside of us, three- or four-wide on a restart up there in the gravel, and I didn;t really expect him to be up there, he’s trying to race for a championship. I left enough room on the top, and we just barely made contact, and I guess I heard he got a flat tire or something, so that’s what he must be mad about. I don’t really know.” – Matt Kenseth discussing the situation with Carl Edwards
“It’s a testament to this team, it’s going to be sad here at the end, but I’m enjoying it right now.” – Kyle Busch on winning a race when he is a lame duck driver for Hendrick Motorsports
Next Up: The series will be off next week as the Cup Series heads to Talladega. The Busch cars will be back in action when the series heads to most of the teams’ home track at Charlotte October 12th for the Dollar General 300. The race will air at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2 and PRN radio.