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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Busch’s reign of terror continues; The Logano era begins

After watching the Truck Series race at MIS Saturday, I’ve come to one conclusion: Kyle Busch is doing this on purpose. I think he wants every driver in every series to hate him. That’s the only logical explanation for his childish actions this year in all three series.

In the first part of yet another triple-duty weekend (though this time at only two tracks, and with much less flying), Busch, running nowhere near the lead on the last lap of a race that should mean almost nothing to him, decided to run straight into the back of Trucks points leader Ron Hornaday, even though he had better tires and could have passed Hornaday without much trouble.

Busch almost got punched out for about the tenth time this season, as Hornaday was on a rampage after the race. Don’t let his age fool you, he’s a grizzled veteran who could probably put Busch in a full body cast if given the opportunity. Busch should thank God there’s NASCAR security looking out for him after every one of his stupid moves. Hornaday’s quote after the race, “I hope I don’t hurt him,” pretty much sums up the opinion of every driver who has competed against Busch this year.

This is not the first time he’s acted like a fool in a series where’s he’s supposed to be a guest. I’ll tell you one thing -- if a guest in my home behaved like he’s behaving in the Trucks and Nationwide series, I’d kick them out real quick, and not in a polite way. Busch needs to stick to Cup racing, and even there he’s got his problems. For Busch’s sake, I hope Kevin Harvick (Hornaday’s team owner in trucks) doesn’t get anywhere near him in today's Cup race or there could be some trouble.

On a happier note, the truck race provided some of the best side-by-side racing of the year so far and reminded me why I love the series so much. The series is perfect for a competitive, wide-open track like Michigan. Drivers were going four-wide and even five-wide on some restarts, the way racing should be. It was far from the parades that have become far too common these days.

And the photo-finish ending (a margin of victory of 0.005 seconds ... literally inches) is something you’ll rarely seen in the Cup series. With the race in Michigan, it was fitting that Erik Darnell’s Jack Roush-owned Ford beat the Toyota of Johnny Benson (though that would’ve been OK with me too, as Benson is a Michigan native).


Three races, two pole positions, one victory.
Age: 18 years and 21 days

That’s the stat line on Joey Logano, the young wunderkind who is going beyond living up to the massive pressure placed on him as he entered the Nationwide Series just after his 18th birthday as the anointed next big thing in racing.

History was made Saturday night in Kentucky with Logano’s first win, as he is the youngest winner ever in the Nationwide series. And it’s hard to think he’ll do anything but keep on winning, as he is clearly talented and that 20 car is the best ride in the series.

Logano delivered possibly the best Father’s Day gift ever to his dad, who first put him in a racecar at age 6. Since then, he has performed phenomenally at every level of racing he’s attempted. Joe Gibbs recognized his talent early, and his team should achieve success for many, many years with Logano. If Tony Stewart leaves Gibbs, either this year or next, it’s pretty much a given that Logano will fill that spot in the Cup series.

In what I’d like to think is a bit of karma for his ridiculous actions during the Truck race, Kyle Busch -- after driving through almost the entire field in a dominating car at Kentucky -- got loose all by himself and wrecked out of the race. I’d never wish him harm, but I can’t say I’m upset he didn’t finish well. The good news for all NASCAR fans (and Nationwide drivers) is he’s not going to take part in next week’s Nationwide race in Milwaukee.

And while we’re talking youth, the fact that four 18-year-old drivers (Logano, Bryan Clauson, Landon Cassill, James Buescher) finished in the top 14 at Kentucky astounds me. At that age, I was still figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. These kids are already doing it, and very well.


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