The newest rumor pegging Carl Edwards to Joe Gibbs Racing has a bit of an interesting twist. Motorsports.com’s Lee Spencer is reporting in order to get the funds to create a fourth team at JGR, they would take M&M’s away from Kyle Busch and put them with Edwards. For Busch, Monster Energy would move up and sponsor his car. Continue reading “Fourth Joe Gibbs Racing Team Could Come At Expense Of Nationwide Team”
With the recent demise of Swan Racing, it got me thinking about the ownership landscape of NASCAR. It seems every year we see a team come in and leave within a year or two. Only a handful of organizations have stood up to the test of time. Here are my survival theories. Continue reading “The Unstable World Of NASCAR Ownership”
NASCAR’s newest rivalry has been brewing for a while now. It’s not a surprise given how many races Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch run against each other that they’ve finally bumped heads one too many times.
Tensions came to a boil during Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, the Kansas Lottery 300, from the Kansas Speedway. Keselowski and Busch were racing hard for the second position with 31 laps to go. Presumably leader Matt Kenseth was short on fuel, so the duel could be for the win, and with the two teams neck and neck for the owner’s title, a lot was at stake.
As they came through with 12 laps to go, Busch was under Keselowski, and held in the gas a bit too much and hooked Keselowski. Keselowski slid through the infield and then into the outside, ending his day.
Keselowski then ran to the infield, gesturing towards Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing team and had some harsh words once reporters caught up to him. “I got wrecked by a dirty driver,” Keselowski said. “There’s no other way of putting it. He’s cool with that. I have raced him really cool over the last year to be respectful to him and try to repair our relationship…He put me in the fence in Chicago in the Truck race, and the Nationwide races he has been pulling this crap. It is not going to last, I can tell you that. I feel bad for the guys next to me (indicating the No. 54 team) that are going to have to fix his stuff. That’s going to be part of racing and they are going to have to deal with it…Now we’ve got war.”
To his credit Busch did own the incident, stating “There were a lot of moments where maybe I felt a little crowded, but the contact there that ultimately ended it… I just got real tight off (Turn) 4. I’ve been battling tight underneath him and behind him and everything else, and finally I thought I had a run, and I tried to stay in the gas so I could get a run on him and get to his quarter and side-drafted him down the front straightaway. I got too tight, got inside his wake and just got too close to him and spun him out.”
The problem is Busch kept talking at this point, especially after hearing Keselowski’s remarks, to say “Brad Keselowski knows what dirty drivers are because he’s done it plenty of times. But I have yet to wreck a person on purpose…I got wrecked for the Chase spot by Brad Keselowski (in 2012) and then had an opportunity to wreck him a few times throughout the Chase and didn’t. (I) let him and Jimmie Johnson battle it out on their own, and ultimately he won the deal. If I wanted to, I could have cost Brad Keselowski a championship, but I’m a bigger person than that.”
In Sunday’s Sprint Cup race Keselowski did not have an opportunity to get to Busch as other drivers took care of that for him. During one of the cautions, Keselowski’s spotter radioed him “you’ll enjoy why we’re under caution,” referring to Busch having problems.
The irony in this is during one of the incidents for Busch, he came down on Juan Pablo Montoya, who did not give an inch. The end results was Busch going for a spin and remarking that he’s never spun himself on a straightaway.
You have one driver who has nothing to lose this season (Keselowski) going against a driver who has a short fuse and long memory (Busch). Needless to say this will get interesting.
Oh and for the record, Kyle Busch has crashed himself going in a straight line.
Currently, Busch sits in the fifth place, only 35 points behind teammate and leader Matt Kenseth. While that is not an insurmountable lead by any means, the writing is on the wall for another fall Busch collapse. While Kenseth had an off day, he placed 12th, Busch had an off day as well, which was a 34th place finish.
As Dave Moody points out in his blog Busch has fallen apart in 2008 and 2011 after coming into the Chase as the leader in points. This year he sought (and appeared) to be re-writing his history by finishing second in the first two events and finished fifth the week prior at Dover.
This weekend the hits came early and often for Busch. He crashed in practice, spun during the first lap, spun after contact with Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 188, and finally totaled his Camry on lap 201. Never mind the off track issues that saw his Joe Gibbs Racing team fly in a new transmission for his car late Saturday and was the last car through tech on Sunday.
It’s interesting that with the resources and experience of Joe Gibbs Racing, Busch seems to hit a wall when it comes to the final 10 races of the year. Busch is still focus in on the championship and ready to write this off as a case of Kansas Speedway getting the best of him again.
“I have no idea what happened on the last one. All I know is we’re in Kansas — right? We’ll just have to work hard. We’ll just have to keep doing what we’ve done and getting us to this point all year long and that’s been consistency. And every other track except Kansas seems to be able to bode well for us, so we’ll see what happens and if it doesn’t happen — then it doesn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to be,” Busch told reporters after exiting his car.
Busch and his team will be back at it this weekend in the Bank Of America 500 from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The action gets underway Saturday at 7:30 PM EST and can be seen on ABC.
Despite putting up the 13th best lap, Matt Kenseth and his Joe Gibbs Racing team did not sound happy about what they learned during Thursday’s test session at the Kansas Speedway. You’d think the driver who’s won the last two races at the track would be excited out there. Instead with a new tire, Kenseth was not happy.
“I would have rather left everything alone for us (regarding the new tire), especially after today. Today was a struggle. I was glad we got the extra practice and of course tomorrow is a new day and we’ve got a lot of stuff to look at it, but today was kind of a struggle. Whenever anything is working good for you, you kind of like to leave everything the same. But, yeah, when you come back, it’s the same for everybody and you’ve just got to figure it out,” Kenseth told media after the test.
Being concerned is natural for Kenseth, but he was looking at the silver lining of Friday being a new day.
“I heard after (Dale Earnhardt) Junior won the pole last week that he called me a ‘worrywart,’ so if that’s the case then I’m concerned. I’m always concerned about everything. I really am a worrier, but, no, I’m not really that concerned. We had a lot of things we wanted to do today and we didn’t get any of them done or very many of them done because we sort of struggled today. I always wish it would have been more of a productive day, but on the other hand I think we can be thankful it was free test day and we can start over tomorrow.”
If needed, Kenseth and his crew don’t need to use the car they had out there on Thursday. They could opt for another car, but that was something Kenseth wouldn’t divulge.
“I can’t give away strategy secrets. You’ll have to watch it the whole time. I don’t know what he’s (Jason Ratcliff, crew chief) going to do. He was planning on running this one, but the way it ran today he might change his mind. I don’t really know because I came straight over here, so honestly I’m not really sure.”
The Hollywood Casino 400 gets under way Sunday at 2 PM EST, and can be seen on ESPN.
Matt Kenseth and his Joe Gibbs Racing team brought a Toyota painted up with the slogan of “Let’s Do This” for sponsor The Home Depot. After winning the first two races in the Chase, it seemed like a fitting pairing. At Dover, he led twice for 36 laps, but in the end it was a seventh place finish for the championship leader.
“When you look up, it’s everybody that finished in front of you — it’s all cars that you’re racing for points. Overall, for how bad I felt like we struggled with the car, that was a decent finish,” commented Kenseth after the completion of the race.
Despite being up front and in the top-5 for most of the race, it wasn’t as good of an outing as everyone else saw for Kenseth.
“We kind of missed it today, but there’s times we ran a lot better than that. We got caught with being the last on two tires and restarting on the inside, which was really bad. Still salvaged a respectable finish, but certainly I wanted to do better than that,” continued Kenseth.
His finish could have been better had it not been for a late caution that took fuel mileage out of the equation. Half the drivers seemed ok with it, put Kenseth down as part of the group that didn’t want to see the caution.
“No, I really wasn’t (happy to see the last caution) because we were running second I think and Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) said nobody could really make it. None of the guys that were going to win the race were going to make it and a lot of those cars that I think were trying to make it were already a lap down, so I wish it would have went green to the end. I think that would have got us a top-three or four,” explained Kenseth.
Kenseth and crew will look to rebound at the Hollywood Casino 400 is next up from the Kansas Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series. The action gets underway Sunday, October 6th, at 2:00 PM EST and can be seen live on ESPN.
After finishing the first two Chase races in second place, the expectation for Kyle Busch and his team was to get past second and into Victory Lane. That was not the case for Busch, as his efforts ended with a fifth place finish.
“We were about a fifth to seventh-place car much of the day and we ended up fifth. The Interstate Batteries Camry got what it could out of it. Certainly, I wish we definitely could’ve gotten more. We probably could’ve if I could’ve got the outside lane on the final restart I probably could’ve finished third, but we didn’t get that. We had to fight through it and pass a couple cars the hard way and we ended up fifth. It’s certainly the finish that our car was today. It’s frustrating to be fifth, but yet you look at the grand scheme of things and it’s three straight top-fives to start the Chase so not bad,” Busch told reporters after the race.
For Busch, the car was just off a little bit across the board. There wasn’t one thing about it Busch could isolate as the issue.
“A little bit of everywhere. I mean, we had fought the same exact things in practice. We didn’t make any gains on it really this weekend, which is frustrating, but yet we knew we had a good car. We had a top-five — fifth to seventh place actually. We got a fifth out of it, so we got the most of what we could with the Interstate Batteries Camry today. Thank M&M’s, Toyota, Monster Energy, but it’s three straight top-fives to start the Chase. It’s certainly appealing and you could be happy with it, but we’re a little disappointed at the same time. We felt like we wanted to come in here, we wanted to run better, we could run better here, we have before and just could never really get the feel that I was looking for the whole weekend with the front tires,” explained Busch.
Crew chief Dave Rogers isn’t discouraged by Sunday’s results. “I think last year we proved ourselves and our fans that we can perform in these final 10, so you come into the Chase –obviously, winning the number of races we did, leading the number of laps we did this season, knowing we performed well the final 10 last season — you come into the Chase with a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum and it helps to have your teammate, the 20 car (Matt Kenseth), up there running too because it just emphasizes that you’ve got the equipment. When two cars can do it out of the same stable, that shows that your Toyotas are really fast and that gives you even more confidence.”
Next up is the Hollywood Casino 400 is next up from the Kansas Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series. The action gets underway Sunday, October 6th, at 2:00 PM EST and can be seen live on ESPN.