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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Welcome back, pack racing, I missed you; Kyle Busch's pure talent on full display in Bud Shootout

(AP Photo/Todd Warshaw, Pool)
Kyle Busch (18) beats Tony Stewart (14) to the finish line to win the NASCAR Budweiser Shootout auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The good news: Pack racing is back and the two-car tango is gone, leading to some good racing Saturday night in the Bud Shootout and likely the Daytona 500 too. Kyle Busch pulled off an awesome pass at the last second, and let’s hope for a rerun of that finish next Sunday in the 500.

The bad news: Apparently the drivers forgot how to run in the packs, because it was a wreckfest of extreme proportion. Just about a dozen cars finished the race, and some of them were banged up pretty badly.

This of course has the naysayers already out in full force, saying that NASCAR has invited trouble by bringing back the packs, but to that I say nonsense.

The Shootout is about going for broke and not worrying about points, so there was no such thing as patience on the mind of any driver. Not to mention it’s the first race of the year, and they were a bit rusty.

Without points on the line at Daytona in the 500, plus some laps under their belts, I’m confident the drivers will do a little better in the biggest race of the year than they did Saturday night.

I wanted the two-car tango gone, and I’m glad it is. It was a rough return for pack racing, but these guys are professionals – they’ll figure out how to do it properly.

There have been two caution-free races run at Talladega, so restrictor plate racing doesn’t have to be a series of “big ones”. We’ll see next week how they do.

Regardless of the number of wrecks though, It’s a safe bet the competition on track will be pretty awesome. Kudos to NASCAR on the changes they made to make this possible.

Kyle survives to win
If you watched the race Saturday, it was pretty clear Kyle Busch wasn’t going to win. He got sideways more often than a drunken Irishman, and somehow, someway he always kept the car in one piece.

But it wasn’t luck, it was skill. Kyle Busch, once again, has shown us why many people consider him to be the best driving talent in NASCAR right now, and he will continue to be a threat to win every week. He has yet to put together a strong Chase run, and last year was a disaster, but it’s official: Kyle is back and will be a favorite to battle for the crown.

"I don't know how many times I spun out and didn't spin out. Amazing race -- I can't say enough about all these guys and this M&M's Camry was fast,” KB said. “It was fun to drive when I wasn't getting turned around. Tough race, but a fun race. Glad to see the pack back like that and making it interesting for us drivers -- hopefully, it was great for the fans as much as it was for us drivers."

Tony Stewart falls short of another Shootout win

Runner-up Tony Stewart praised the effort put forth by Busch to take the win by a razor-thin margin.

“I knew he (Kyle Busch) was going to pull out but he at least got us up there where we needed to be. It reminded me of when we were in the opposite positions coming down here. I wasn’t going to put myself in a position to wreck myself, but I thought I left enough room to break the seal and get a little air between us. He did a good job. He did exactly what he needed to do.”

Count Stewart among the drivers who prefer pack racing to the 2-car setup.
“That is a lot more fun racing like this than the two-car stuff. You are still going to see it at the end of the race I think. The good thing is it is a lot more fun running in the traditional pack than what we have had here in the past so I am looking forward to it. It is going to be a fun week.”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

conducteddistviwIt surely beat the two bugs humping each other like last year at the restrictor plate tracks. Kyle may be a good driver, but he's still a jerk and pilots a Toyota. Isn't the Daytona 500 supposed to be the great American race?

February 19, 2012 at 1:03 AM 
Anonymous Truck repair los angeles said...

@ Anonymous: Yes it is, and one of the best!

February 20, 2012 at 2:08 PM 

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