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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lady in Black rains on Kyle Busch’s parade

I love Darlington.

Just when you think you’re watching a race where you know exactly what’s going to happen, it pulls a trick out from its sleeve.

The victim Friday night was Kyle Busch, who dominated the Nationwide race and was just a couple laps away from victory. Then, a sequence of events occurred that was pure Darlington.

Scott Speed got into the back of Joe Nemechek and Scott Lagasse, Jr., spewing debris all over the track and setting up a green-white-checkered run to the finish. As the pace car led the car around the track, Busch ran over some of the debris, cutting down one of his tires.

As you would expect, the crowd roared with approval, and Busch ended up 16th. After the race, he stormed off quickly, most likely to go swear profusely and punch things in his trailer once the camera was off him. Kyle doesn’t like finishing 2nd, let alone 16th, when he has the dominant car.

I was half hoping an ESPN reporter would try to get an interview with Busch, just to see his reaction … if they had, chances are they would have received a healthy shove a la Tony Stewart in his angrier days.

(On a side note, was I the only one who noticed that Jack Roush seemed to be yelling at one of the female pit reporters after she kept trying to interview him while he was talking to Matt Kenseth? Note to ESPN: If they’re talking into their headset, they can’t talk to you at the same time)

So on this late Friday night, I have these words of advice for Kyle Busch.

Forget about what happened Friday night. I know you want to win every week, but things happen in racing … especially at Darlington.

If you go out Saturday night with a chip on your shoulder and let what happened get into your psyche, the Lady in Black may have another lesson to teach you.

Leffler now best of Nationwide only drivers
If Carl Edwards or Kyle Busch have a few off weekends, there is another Nationwide-only driver who is emerging as a threat for the title: Jason Leffler. He’s only 153 points out of the lead, in third place, and is quietly doing well each week. He, along with Brad Keselowski, are the real title competitors in my mind, and I’ll be rooting for both of them to take out the Busch-Edwards tandem in the points, however unlikely that may be.

Pearson interview a treat
So far this weekend, the best thing I've seen was the nearly hour-long interview with legendary driver David Pearson, one of the best ever at Darlington, that was aired on Speed when the Nationwide qualifying session was rained out.

The Silver Fox, sporting a T-shirt with Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford that read "You big dummy", had some really cool things to say as he reflected on his storied career with former competitor Darrell Waltrip and others. Between all the jokes and reminiscing, he has some great advice for NASCAR: Get rid of the endless regulations and let people work on their cars in different ways.

Bad ending for Shepherd
Morgan Shepherd, making his 250th career start in what is now the Nationwide Series, brought out the caution after he was wrecked when the final green flag was thrown for the green-white-checkered. It’s too bad, as Morgan doesn’t have a lot of equipment to be damaging, especially considering the timing of the wreck.


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