NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Four Burning Questions: Busch’s Return, Logano’s Resurgence, and Michigan’s Repave

*What will Kurt Busch’s attitude this weekend mean for his future?*

Based upon James Finch’s comments following Kurt Busch’s suspension, it looked like strike three for the driver who has already screwed up opportunities from two of the sport’s top organizations. Whatever happened in the supposed “come to Jesus” meeting that Finch and Busch had this weekend, though, must have been enough for Finch because Busch is back behind the wheel of that No. 51.

Busch has already had more second chances than anyone in the history of ever, it seems, and in none of those times has he actually proved that he learned something. For a few weeks he’s the perfectly well behaved corporate driver the standard team owner loves, and then an under-performing car or an ill-timed question from the media sends him into a downward spiral that he’s never able to dig himself out of.

Busch could very well come back a “changed man” and show everyone that he’s fully capable of keeping a cool head when things go wrong. But he’s going to have to hold onto it to convince the fans, sponsors, and more importantly, Finch, that it’s actually for real this time.


Though Joey Logano broke through at Pocono this past weekend, the clouds overhanging his murky future at Joe Gibbs Racing have yet to dissipate.

*Where does Joey Logano go from here?*

Sure Logano’s win was impressive, but he’s always been solid at Pocono. While the win certainly helped his bid to keep his ride at Joe Gibbs Racing, I don’t think one victory sandwiched between mediocre finishes is going to convince his team and sponsors he’s still worth the investment.

To date, Logano has only five top-10 finishes in 14 races. Not exactly JGR material, and I doubt that if he continues with the results he’s been getting (five finishes outside the top 20) that the rumors about him being gone at the end of the year will silence.

Look to see how Logano finishes this weekend. Maybe that magic little word called “momentum” will play into Logano’s hands at the perfect moment.

*Will the excessive speeds in Michigan be a positive or a negative?*

I can’t help but imagine IndyCar drivers seeing the speeds at Michigan and the driver’s reactions to them, shaking their heads, and saying, “Rookie.” In a Thursday test session, speeds topped out at 201 mph on the new surface, and prompted quite a reaction from drivers, fans, and media.

I mean, holy crap, NASCAR stock cars going _fast_?! What a concept!

OK OK OK, I know it’s faster than what we normally see at a track like Michigan, and honestly I hear more about slowing the cars down to improve the quality of racing. Obviously that’s not going to happen since NASCAR said they aren’t going to put a restrictor plate in these cars or slow them down in any way, but I’m extremely curious to know how these breakneck speeds—at least by NASCAR standards—will impact the racing. I’ve always thought faster was better, so I’m looking forward to the race and finally forming an official opinion!

*Can the No. 88 team move past their fuel mileage issues and get back to Victory Lane?*

To those wondering when I’ll actually stop talking about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s winless streak, that will happen when he finally wins. I don’t believe this team can come so close to this many victories without finally making it happen, even with their apparent gun shyness with fuel mileage races.

What I don’t think Steve Letarte and Earnhardt seem to realize is that gambling and falling short isn’t necessarily a negative … because eventually those gambles are going to pay off, as opposed to playing it safe and settling with a top 10 finish. Those types of finishes will get you inside the Chase, but they won’t bring victories or championships. Have you ever heard the saying “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? Same concept.

Well … kind of. Either way, this team really needs to shake off their past failures and move on.

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