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Tag Archives: Kurt Busch

Ten Points To Ponder: After the 2008 Daytona 500

*1. Well … Isn't That Just Super? -* The Daytona 500 is often referred to as NASCAR's equivalent of the NFL's Super Bowl. Well, the Patriots - Giants game, held two weeks ago, was an exciting and well-played contest in its own right; and, with a Cinderella finish to boot. I just thought it was appropriate to mention here, because while I like the New York Giants, Ryan Newman and the Penske Dodges were just as big of an underdog, overcoming the odds for a surprise victory in Sprint Cup. It's clear that in terms of entertainment value, both the NFL and NASCAR appear to have delivered in the past month or so. *2. Was It Just A Hunch? -* Those NASCAR PR guys are slick; did you catch the NASCAR promo shortly after the opening laps as FOX went to break with Jeff Gordon exclaiming that, "Hey, I like the way this is looking." And that happened not long after he had taken the lead, either! How did those guys know?

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 Gatorade Duel 150s

*Race One* *The Key Moment* Reed Sorenson teamed up with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on the final restart and the duo drove away from the field. Truthfully, as strong at the No. 88 car looked, Earnhardt probably didn't need help. *In a Nutshell* The cars might be OK, and the tires might be OK, but those tires on those cars just don't seem to be working. *Dramatic Moment* When Vickers spun out early in the race while near the head of the pack, it could have set off a field decimating wreck. There was some good heads up driving in the field to avert disaster as Vickers headed for the infield.

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: Everyone’s Opinion Matters

Somewhere in the hurricane of publicity surrounding Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s move to Rick Hendrick's organization over the offseason, some comments made by Brian France about the upcoming year were lost. In one of those comments, France stated that perhaps the sanctioning body had been a bit too hasty in handing out penalties for less than stellar conduct and comments made by drivers in the heat of passion. As a result, fans were raging that the drivers had become bland cartoons, not real personalities. The rivalries of the past had been eliminated by NASCAR's school-marmish discipline... so France stated that NASCAR was going to lighten up a bit and let the boys be boys. A lot of folks had their doubts. In subsequent statements, France added that there were still limits, but those borders had been extended a bit. Where the actual borders governing behavior were set is still open to interpretation; and in perhaps an unwitting test of the new policy, the sport's most public driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., went on record as saying that he believed NASCAR wasn't really going to loosen up -- they were just parroting what the fans wanted to hear.

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Fanning the Flames: Yo, NASCAR! This Is A No Spin Zone!

*Q: Matt, I have been trying to figure this out. Busch deliberately hit Tony's car three times coming off the track. Even if Tony blocked Busch from exiting pit road, he wasn't using his car as a battering ram... and yet, they both receive the same punishment??? I can only hope that I am never assaulted, and that NASCAR doesn't sit in judgment -- because I would go to prison with my assailant.* _— Sharon G._ *A:* According to Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's VP of Competition, "The accident was a racing incident. How they conducted themselves after that, after the accident and coming onto pit road and from there through the rest of the evening, is why the penalties were equal."

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Mirror Driving: A Slap On The Wrist For Stewart And Busch? Junior Go Whoosh… And Waltrip’s 2008 Push

*Friday night's Budweiser Shootout final practice was filled with torn-up cars and aggressive moves. For the second time in a year, Kurt Busch took his frustration with Tony Stewart out on pit road. Busch was penalized with a point deduction and fine last year; but this time, NASCAR went for probation. Was this enough?* Amy: No, it wasn't enough. If the point fine wasn't enough last time, they think a "play nice" will be?! Please… Mike: The action between the two was actually on the track this time, not on pit road ... so I'll cut them a little slack. Vito: Probation was plenty. Kurt bumped into him a few times on the track en route to the pits... there was no danger to anyone. Matt T.: Honestly, I think Kurt's punishment came at the hand -- er, fist -- of Stewart. It's over. Let it be. After all, it was during practice. Tony: But this is not following precedent, and that's my huge problem with it. I love the rivalry -- it's needed -- but using your car as a weapon on pit road has got to be stopped. Matt T.: Since when does NASCAR follow precedent, Tony?

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Top Ten Things That REALLY Were Said In the NASCAR Trailer After the Kurt and Tony Incident…Hollywood Style!

10. *Tony:* "Don't worry Kurt. I can fix it! My dad is a T.V. repairman and he has an AWESOME set of tools" 9. *Kurt to Mike Helton:* "But sir, it's not important how many people I've crashed. What's important is how I drive with the ones still on the track." 8. *Kurt to Tony:* "If my little brother looked like you, I'd shave his butt and teach him to walk backwards!" 7. *Mike Helton:* "I've about had it with you two! You are now both on proba…" *John Darby (whispering to Mike):* "But sir, they are already on probation." *Mike Helton:* "Well from this moment on, they are on double SECRET probation!"

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Did You Notice? CoT Equality, Newman Backing Stewart?, Harvick Speaks Out… And More

*Did You Notice* … That after Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch tangled on the track, Ryan Newman was seen engaging in lighthearted conversation with Stewart on his way to the NASCAR hauler? It's not like the two drivers can't talk to each other - they're friends - but to make that type of move in public, five minutes after your teammate felt like he was wronged on the race track? Hmm … even if the wreck wasn't mentioned, you have to wonder about the relationship Newman and Busch have at Penske after that. *Did You Notice* … The most intriguing subplot of the Kurt Busch / Tony Stewart rivalry is Kyle Busch's silence. Remember how he defended big bro in 2005? Supposedly, their relationship took a hit after their brush-up in the All-Star Race last year, but if push came to shove, I'm willing to bet blood is thicker than water. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out if Stewart and Kurt keep going at it … if Kyle's forced to give his opinion, we could see the type of teammate friction we expected at JGR early on.

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Side-By-Side: Whose Fault Was It — Tony Stewart Or Kurt Busch?

*Today's Question : Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch tangled Friday in Bud Shootout practice, destroying Busch's No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. It's a wreck Busch responded to by using his damaged race car to beat and bang Stewart's vehicle all the way down pit road, the second such time he's done so in the past year (see Dover, June 2007).* Amy Henderson: Why on Earth would anyone think telling Busch to behave was enough? Obviously, the money and championship points have not deterred him from driving a 3400-pound missile toward unprotected crewmen on pit road -- and we're supposed to believe that telling him to "play nice" will? NASCAR should have suspended Busch from the Budweiser Shootout, at the very least. Bryan Keith: How can anyone blame Kurt Busch for going after Stewart? This is the same Tony Stewart that wrecked Busch in exactly the same way at Dover last year ... putting him in a deep points hole as he strived to make the Chase. This is the same Tony Stewart that has a history of run-ins at Daytona (just ask Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin), the same one who wrecked out with Busch in last February's 500. Every single thing might not always be Tony's fault; but frankly, I don't buy the theory that a plethora of NASCAR stars have just developed a habit of braking in front of the No. 20.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Preview Edition

The last time we were in Florida for a race, *Jimmie Johnson* and the No. 48 team were basking in a sea of confetti after winning their second consecutive Sprint Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A lot has changed since that historic day in November; there's been a powerful addition to the Toyota camp, and the sport's most popular driver debuted with Johnson's organization in convincing fashion during Saturday's Budweiser Shootout. Those are just two of a number of storylines and questions heading into 2008 -- some will have to wait to be answered, while some may be answered here. For those of you who are new to this column, well ... so am I. Moving over from the Bubble Breakdown, I'll be replacing Cami Starr, who has done a wonderful job keeping you, the racing fan, updated on the trends of what's happening in NASCAR's premiere series over the past few years. With that said, here's the first edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not for 2008. Use it for fantasy purposes, use it for an unbiased view of where your favorite driver ranks (not that you'd be biased in the first place, right?), or simply read it to kill some time. Either way, I'm glad to have you on board for the upcoming season.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 Bud Shootout at Daytona Recap

*The Key Moment:* Even though Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had hung new teammate Jimmie Johnson out to dry a lap earlier, Johnson gave the No. 88 the push it needed on the final lap to beat Tony Stewart. *In a Nutshell:* Maybe this Earnhardt / Hendrick pairing might work out all right after all. *Dramatic Moment:* The last ten laps when the drivers got down to business had the crowd on its collective feet. *What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *Combining Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s plate track prowess with Rick Hendrick's excellent plate track equipment* might just make Junior unbeatable at Talladega and Daytona. *Note to Junior*: Running over your new boss after winning your first race with the team would have been very poor form. *Note to Rick Hendrick*: Please ensure the car has come to a stop before leaping in front of it.

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