Kyle Busch was able to hold off teammate Denny Hamlin in the final two-lap shootout that decided the race. Geographically, it’s in the same place, but this joint just doesn’t seem like Bristol anymore, does it?
The results certainly weren’t much to get excited about, but I said last week that given their experience levels, both Rookie of the Year candidates should only worry about finishing at Bristol. Looking at it from that perspective, Speed met his goal and Logano certainly would have if it weren’t for some nasty engine gremlins. However, with five races in the books, both drivers should look at their respective points position as wakeup calls for the remainder of the season. Given the fact that there is no testing this year, don’t expect the duo to light the series on fire. However, with Speed now outside of the Top 35 and Logano squarely on the bubble, they’re going to need to step it up to avoid putting themselves in jeopardy of missing races. One top-20 finish between the two certainly cannot be acceptable to their teams, crews and most importantly, the drivers themselves.
Already, we’re seeing some trends develop only a month deep into the seemingly endless Tragical Mystery Tour that is this year’s Cup schedule. And the following information is offered due to one irrefutable fact – there was no Cup race last Sunday, and there’s damn little to write about right now as a deadline looms.
Turning a bad or mediocre racecar into a contending ride is a practice that Kyle Busch employs in the Truck Series, where he is a threat to win in nearly every race he enters in Billy Ballew Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota Truck. Busch has elevated the competitiveness of BBM, an operation that he has talked on and off again about possibly owning, despite the team not having the same resources as others they compete against. Busch says that his experience helps to bridge that gap. “We don’t have a lot of research and development going on. Pretty much, what I have in my truck is what I know and what I have learned from the Nationwide cars and the old Cup cars. That’s where all our stuff has come from.”
Heading into Atlanta this past Sunday, David Reutimann, Bobby Labonte and Michael Waltrip were the apple of everyone’s eye – faces and names we haven’t seen atop the standings in a while. Or ever. Well, a quick check of the points this week reveals the harsh reality of racing, as Reutimann is now desperately clinging onto 12th in points with Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton closing fast. Waltrip stumbled again at Atlanta, while Labonte had one of those days you’d rather just forget; he spun out all by himself, and then his Roush-Yates power plant digested itself on lap 103, dropping him all the way to 23rd in the points standings. Nature’s way can be cruel.
Kurt Busch dominated the race, but a late caution and a two-tire stop put Carl Edwards at the head of the pack. Busch was able to easily retake the lead when the green flag flew with two laps left.
Throughout Sunday’s telecast of the Kobalt Tools 500, we heard several times how the Atlanta Motor Speedway was racing just like its neighbor about 300 miles to the north, Darlington Raceway. The way the surface was eating through tires forced crews to bring their driver in for fresh rubber almost every chance they had. Well, it was no wonder why rookie Logano thought that this was the week to put the Darlington stripe on the right side of his Home Depot Camry. Whether it was by himself, or getting help – like from the No. 44 and No. 14 machines of AJ Allmendinger and Tony Stewart, respectively – “Logano is in the wall” was a common phrase called out by the FOX announcers all afternoon.
21, as many of you will know, is a lucky number in Las Vegas. So, here are exactly that many questions, observations, and thoughts – in no particular order – on the season so far as the series leaves Sin City to head back east.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With three races in the books already in 2009, the battle for the Top 35 locked-in spots is heating up, as there are only two races remaining to secure one of those Top-35 guaranteed starting positions. And when you looked at the starting lineup for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Speedway, you saw the names Todd Bodine, Brad Keselowski and Max Papis as new names on the grid. This means several full-time teams didn’t make the field this past weekend, thus digging themselves a deep hole. To see which cars and drivers took a big hit in the standings this past weekend, read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown…