May 3rd, 2015
Kyle Larson went wheel to wheel with two of the best in NASCAR, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, and was able to hold them off for his first career victory. This does a great job of emphasizing the talent that everyone has talked about that Larson has. I’m glad he didn’t get his first by lucking into it with fuel mileage or something stupid like that.
Kyle Busch made it known he could care less about the Cup drivers in Nationwide races debate. His salty interview prior to the race with ESPN told more than his words. In essence it sounds like everyone is just hating on Busch, which I can understand why he wouldn’t exactly like the topic. My point would be Cup drivers shouldn’t be allowed to drive for Cup teams that run Nationwide Series races. You might still have Cup driver domination, but the wins won’t annoy fans as much, as seen by Larson’s win.
With that said, Busch is a wheel man. He drove his Toyota up from 39th to the front of the field in about 20 laps. That’s crazy, then he got behind in the middle of the race, and once again got his car back up there for the finish. Had he not checked up to not hit the wall with a few laps to go, he might have won it.
Despite damage to his car, Chase Elliott was brining it late in the race. He ended up finishing sixth overall, but definitely made a statement with his driving out there this weekend.
Teammate Regan Smith struggled to finish 10th and lost a precious point to Trevor Bayne, so they are now tied atop the standings. For Bayne it was another consistent finish, but he’d rather be winning races than consistent.
Ryan Reed didn’t crash so he got his top-20 finish. It was 17th this weekend, which he’ll need to finish better than that to make up for all his wrecked race cars. On the plus though the body shop gets a week off.
Auto Club 400
We replaced rain with another dreaded word. Tires. That was the big issue during Sunday’s race as 17 drivers had tire failures during the course of the 400 mile race. One lucky driver had it happen twice to him, that being Kevin Harvick. Goodyear blamed the teams for being over aggressive, something the drivers disagreed with.
Harvick looked like he was going to rebound from the first tire failure, as he worked his way back into the top-5, but then was bit again. Thank goodness for his team and fans he got that Phoenix win, because he might have otherwise been in a hole he couldn’t get out of.
NASCAR’s new Chase allowed Denny Hamlin the ability to pull himself from the race without jeopardizing his Chase hopes. NASCAR will give him a medical exception for the race, so if he can get a win, he’ll still be in the Chase. What was bad luck for Hamlin was a great opportunity for Sam Hornish, Jr. He was able to jump into the #11 Toyota and was able to finish 17th. While not an overly great performance, Hornish showed moments of why he should get a full-time opportunity.
Interesting to see Donovan McNabb at the race track given how he angered NASCAR fans by commenting that drivers are not athletes. That’s been a tough debate, because there are drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards who train like athletes, but it is not necessary to be a driver. That’s where I get stuck in the debate is, in theory, drivers can show up and go without any physical training. You won’t last long in NASCAR anymore without, but it’s not needed like other sports.
Tempers flared during the race between four drivers. First Brian Scott got into Aric Almirola, ending Almriola’s day and hurting Scott’s day. When seeing the footage, Almirola commented that Scott was just there because “his daddy pays his way.” That’s partially true, his Dad does sponsor him, and it seemed like a rookie mistake by Scott sliding up the track into Almirola. The second flare up was between Parker Kligerman and Casey Mears. There was no footage of it, but according to Kligerman after the race on Twitter, Mears ran him into the wall. The comment was made that Kligerman hoped Mears would be “parked for the next year.” No such action was taken by NASCAR on Mears, so Kligerman will have to just file that one in the memory bank.
Another solid run by Danica Patrick as she came home in 14th. She’s quietly have a good season and showing improvement from a rocky rookie campaign.
New dad Paul Menard got to mix it up near the front late in the race and brought his Chevrolet home in 9th place. The top finishing Richard Childress Racing driver. Austin Dillon was 11th and Ryan Newman was 20th after tire troubles late in the going.
Carl Edwards recovered from a failed tire to get not only a 10th place finish, but get the point lead from Brad Keselowski. That was about the lone high not for Roush Fenway Racing as Greg Biffle had overheating issues to finish 40th and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. lost a tire to finish 34th.