Frontstretch sat down with Keller during a break in activity at Charlotte and talked to him about his week, his career, and his car for this weekend. When asked about his week, Keller said:”It has been a very busy week. We’ve been getting a lot of attention. It has been an honor to compete in the Busch Series all these years.” Keller noted “It has been an honor to carry the banner for the Busch series this weekend. It has felt very good to have so much attention focused on the series and if it is because of me, so be it.”
If I were to ask if the NASCAR Busch Series were in need of some sort of a points system change, the answers I would get would probably range from ‘hell no!’ to ‘well duh!’ Kevin Harvick clinched the 2006 championship with a ninth-place finish in the Dollar General 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, four weeks prior to the Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Carl Edwards is well on his way to doing the same with the 2007 championship. There has got to be something NASCAR can do to make these points races a little less boring.
Every once in a while in racing you see that perfect match – a struggling driver or team turning the corner when surrounded by the right people. Teams often swap crew chiefs within its own organization in an effort to jumpstart poor performance, but beginning this week at Chicagoland, it will be both a young driver and a struggling race team depending on each other to live up to their respective expectations in the Busch Series.
Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick. Hmm, where have we seen these names before? They’ve all been through the Busch Series the first time, but they’ve come back for more. Why?
Sometimes thinking of a topic for this column is as hard as getting going in the morning without a jolt of caffeine. So as I watched the truck race last Saturday afternoon, I was cheering for Johnny Benson as he battled for his first Craftsman Truck Series victory. Not only because he is a good guy and became the 17th driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top series, but because it would make a good Second Fiddle topic, much better than another Mark Martin win.
I gave the Buschwhackers a rest the last time I took my turn for Second Fiddle, but it looks like I need to revisit the subject again. This time around, though, I have a few other observations on things going on in the Busch Series, specifically concerning Jason Keller, Busch Series veterans, Busch Series rookies, and the fans.
The Busch Series has long had a reputation as a starting ground for new teams and young, upcoming drivers, but the huge influx of Cup wheelmen into the series in recent seasons has had an effect on that philosophy. Fewer seats have been available to drivers looking to prove themselves, and for startup teams, it has been a difficult road to find the funding necessary to compete with the Cup powerhouse organizations that have accompanied the Cup drivers into the Busch Series. Now, we have a sponsor willing to tell us why.
It is really hard to get excited about the Busch Series this season. With seven full-time Nextel Cup drivers also planning to run the entire Busch Series schedule, and many more running 10 to 20 plus races, it’s no longer a feeder series, it’s a Nextel Cup practice session.
By far, one of the hottest topics this year has been the number of Cup drivers crossing over and making themselves at home in the Busch Series. When the discussion of whether this is good or bad for the sport comes up, one of the main arguments is how the Busch teams are adversely affected by the influx of Cup drivers.
I’ve never made any bones about my feelings about the state of the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup owners who are using the series for extra testing time at the expense of the teams who truly want to race the series in its own right, or the costs to compete with these powerhouse teams and drivers. But are Cup drivers themselves bad for the Busch Series?