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Tag Archives: Kyle Busch

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 All-Star Race at Charlotte Edition

With $1 million on the line Saturday night, drivers and fans got a glimpse of what just may happen when points are up for grabs at the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend. While the annual Sprint All-Star event, traditionally run on the weekend prior to Memorial Day, may be an altogether different animal -- it's a 100-lap sprint compared to the longest race on the NASCAR schedule -- many teams still view the event as an extended test session. Because of that, don’t be surprised if some of the stronger cars last week will be up front once again, putting what they learned to good use late Sunday night. While this column is traditionally designed for the upward and downward trends of Sprint Cup drivers as the season progresses, we’ll also take a look at how the hottest and coldest drivers fared in The All-Star Race -- and whether or not they'll stay the course when it really counts this weekend. *HOT* *Kyle Busch:* If his car holds together for the entire 600 miles next week, Busch will be the man to beat once again. With five consecutive Top 5s and three consecutive finishes of second or better, the No. 18 is the hottest team in the series right now.

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Ten Points To Ponder… After The 2008 All-Star Challenge at Charlotte

*1. No Problem, Ron* – Sprint Cup Series point leader Kyle Busch ended his six weekend streak of winning a race – somewhere and in some type of car or truck. The Las Vegas native won the pole positions at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for both the Craftsman Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and the Sprint Cup All-Star Race, but did not visit Victory Lane in either contest. In the All-Star Race, Busch appeared to be the driver to beat as he dominated the early going, but encountered engine problems before the end of segment two, relegating him to the 24th and final position in the running order. Busch also dominated the CTS event, leading 86 of the first 105 laps on the night; however, with just 29 laps remaining in the contest, reigning series champ Ron Hornaday and Busch made contact, requiring NASCAR’s hottest driver to pit twice for repairs and dash his hopes for a victory. Said Hornaday, a three-time CTS Champion; “I got loose and got into him. He got the short end of the stick.” No doubt Hornaday’s explanation is more than good enough for many Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans!

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Tracking the Trucks: 2008 North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte

*In a Nutshell:* Matt Crafton took the checkered flag 0.184 seconds ahead of Chad McCumbee to win the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Friday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Crafton survived a green-white-checkered finish to score his first career victory after a flurry of late cautions changed the complexion of the race. Brendan Gaughan, Erik Darnell, and Rick Crawford rounded out the Top 5 finishers. *Who Should Have Won: Kyle Busch.* In true Kyle Busch fashion, the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota Tundra rolled onto the track as the Truck to beat. He started on the pole and led 86 of the first 110 laps of the race. Unfortunately, his dominating run came to an end when a loose Ron Hornaday, Jr. ran up the track, sending Busch into the outside wall and doing irreversible damage to the No. 51. Kyle Busch was relegated to an 8th place finish after pitting multiple times to fix the damage.

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Tearing Apart the Trucks: Three Ways You Can Improve The Series

After taking yet another two weekends off, the Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Over the last few seasons, I've learned just how much I _love_ the Truck Series; given the choice, I would watch a Truck Series race before I would watch a Sprint Cup or Nationwide one, hands down. A couple months ago, in fact I gave you "four reasons to watch the Truck Series":https://frontstretch.com/blunkenheimer/15289/ . But I understand that just like some people, no series is perfect. This week, I'll turn the tables and take a look at things I'd like to see in the coming weeks, as well as over the next few years in the series. *More Promotion* The Truck Series has been treated like the "red-headed stepchild" of NASCAR for as long as I can remember. Compared to the Sprint Cup and Nationwide divisions, the Truck Series ends up overlooked the majority of the time when it comes to getting the word out and overall publicity. Only a small portion of nascar.com is devoted to the Truck Series, and fans are lucky to find it updated once a week unless something major is happening.

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Fanning the Flames: Be Careful What You Wish For… Like It Or Not, NASCAR Personality Is Back

Before we get rolling with this week’s questions, I have a question of my own: What’s with all the Kyle Busch hate in NASCAR fandom? I’ve read more than a few columns, message boards and received a comment or two concerning Busch and the way some race fans view him and I gotta be honest, I’m really taken aback. Before I get the obligatory, “he’s a young punk,” or “he’s got an attitude problem,” or “he drives dirty,” responses, let’s think about this rationally for a second. Yes, Kyle is young and brash and isn’t afraid to swagger down pit road with a cocky air about him just before administering an ass-whoopin’ to the field. OK, I get that that can rub some the wrong way. Thing is, most of the greats had the same strut to them — and get the same results. People love to wax poetic about Tim Richmond’s cavalier style, Darrell Waltrip’s propensity for smack talk and Dale Earnhardt’s win-at-all-cost mentality. You see a correlation here?

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Mirror Driving: Judging The Lady In Black, Throwing Your Crew Under The Bus, And Yaw. Yes, Yaw

*Darlington's new paving job produced speeds never touched before at the track, and tires held up longer than ever. Darlington stripes came back into fashion, too. Was this the best race at the track held in years, and what does it mean for the future of NASCAR's original superspeedway?* Vito: Not the best race ever... but acceptable. I think the new car is almost too resilient. You can bounce it off the wall all night and still win. Mike: I don't think it was the best it’s been in years. Passing was rather difficult. At least the durability of the tire added a little pit strategy. But give it two more years on the track for this pavement to settle, and the racing will be awesome.

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Did You Notice? The Unbreakable Car, the Unbearable All-Star Rules and Sophomore Success

*Did You Notice …* The degree to which the Car of Tomorrow’s durability stepped it up a notch on Saturday night? There’s no questioning the new car has better durability, but the amount of vehicles who walked away from serious problems with the wall – especially turn 2 – was unprecedented for the Lady In Black. Kyle Busch was the biggest offender of the CoT luck bank at Darlington, slamming the fence so many times you’d think his car would have been mincemeat by sometime around Lap 150. But Busch held on, and so did several others as the DNF total for Darlington stood at just two when the race was over; and neither one of those problems was due to a crash. So, complain all you want about the CoT – and clearly, it still has some problems – but if we had the old car this past weekend, there’s no telling how many cars wouldn’t have finished the race. *Did You Notice…* That the possibility of drivers making it into the All-Star Race having competed in one Cup race all year long simply isn’t fair.

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So I Was Just Thinking… NASCAR Odds ‘N’ Ends

There were a few ideas I had bouncing around in my head about what to write this week. Kyle Busch continuing to win races just to spite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans; Tony Stewart’s future plans that may include ownership of a team; Larry McReynolds' futile struggle to pronounce Patrick Carpantier’s name' or the continued phenomenon known as 'Digger' – the answer to a question that nobody asked. Instead, below are a few random musings from watching the races this past weekend at Darlington, as the track that has been deemed, "Too Tough To Tame" provided much fuel for thought.

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FOX Wines And Dines The Lady In Black To A Second Straight Saturday Night Success

There must be something in the air at race tracks on a Saturday night. After a less-than-stellar outing at Talladega, the FOX Sports broadcasting team again turned in a performance deserving of the Emmy Award they received just a few short weeks ago. In fact, the last two races at Richmond _and_ Darlington -- both on Saturday nights -- have come off nice and smooth, with few mistakes and less of the fluff that turns off and jades so many avid fans. But just like the right side of Kyle Busch’s race-winning car, the TV coverage wasn't without its fair share of Darlington stripes. Here is a breakdown of how FOX fared during this Mother's Day Weekend event: * Since the Sprint Cup Series no longer races at Darlington twice a year, writers, producers, and reporters have a daunting task of cramming all of the elements of the egg-shaped oval into just one weekend.

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