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Sunday, June 22, 2008

It’s Kyle Busch’s world … the other drivers just live there

Kyle Busch has been called a lot of things over the years … great road racer was never one of them.

Until Sunday that is.

NASCAR’s trip to wine country was not the usual battle between the typical favorites.
Jeff Gordon struggled all day, and lucked into a top-3 finish. Robby Gordon was a contender all race, until Kurt Busch pulled a bonehead move and wrecked him. Juan Pablo Montoya contended, but was also spun out and couldn’t get back up front. Tony Stewart started in back, got up front quickly, but his chances were ruined by another bonehead move -- this one by Kevin Harvick -- that also collected Jamie McMurray and Ron Fellows.

This race’s leaders were basically Jimmie Johnson early, and Kyle Busch after that. Either his mechanics are putting some magic elixir in that engine, or Kyle figured out some secret about driving race cars over the summer. He ran a perfect race on Sunday, dominating the field and never really facing a challenge for the lead once he took it over. In a nutshell, he has proven he has the car and the talent to win at any track, in any series, any week.

That’s scary.

He’s won five races in Cup this year, and it’s only June. If this momentum keeps up, he may win a dozen races or more, and run away with the title. Not to mention the four Nationwide and two Truck races he’s won. Between Kyle and the up-and-coming Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing will probably be seeing Victory Lane quite a bit over the next decade or so.

Even scarier, I thought I heard some cheers for Busch after the race … I’m guessing the cheering fans just had a little too much wine, though, and thought Dale Jr. had won.

The only hope for the legion of Kyle-haters is that he has a test planned in a Toyota Formula 1 car later this year. Pray he does tremendously well and is immediately offered boatloads of money to go overseas. It won’t happen, but you can always dream.

Rumor has it Casey Mears is gone from Hendrick Motorsports after this season. If so, there will one highly coveted seat available during the musical chairs exercise known as Silly Season. Here’s a scary thought for the competition … Suppose Rick Hendrick could convince Tony Stewart to come over and bring Home Depot with him. It’s not likely to happen, but imagine how loaded a team with Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, and all their big-time sponsor money, would be. They might even be able to beat Kyle Busch.

Mark Martin might be out of a ride, too, come season’s end. Young Aric Almirola will drive the 8 car all next year, meaning DEI would have to come up with a new car for Martin -- who only wants to run a part-time schedule. My guess is he ends up somewhere else. Martin can’t give up the racing bug (his farewell tour was several years ago in Cup, after which he was supposed to switch over to full-time Truck racing … That plan somehow evolved into him becoming a permanent part-time Cup driver). He is a pure talent who came close to winning a title four times, so some other team should jump to give him a part-time ride if DEI doesn’t hold on to him. If not, maybe that Truck plan will actually happen after all.

Tony Stewart was his usually grumpy, yet amusing, self during an interview by TNT pit reporter Marty Snider after the race. Snider was trying to get Stewart to say something about the Harvick wreck, and Stewart replied: “You’re not in the car. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” In other words, shut up you damn fool. Angry Tony provides some of the most enjoyable post-race television you can find … someone should put together a highlight reel and sell it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony is a hot head with serious self esteem issues. He is lucky he can drive becuase either wise he would be in a ditch somewhere.

June 23, 2008 at 10:22 AM 

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