Last week in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Pocono Raceway, Kyle Busch was racing Kasey Kahne with 18 laps to go. Busch ended up wrecking himself and Kahne. He finished the race 12th while Kahne finished 42nd.
With 18 laps to go Kasey Kahne had passed Kyle Busch and was working on another car. This brought Kyle Busch back to try and pass again. Better to let Kahne explain it.
“This is just when one guy in on the inside and one guy is on the outside and a wall is coming, the car on the outside is going to hit the wall first if he doesn’t…. you know, when you run out of space. The guy on the inside wants to use the entire exit of the corner to carry his speed down the next straightaway. My whole opinion, and my whole point on that was I had already passed Kyle (Busch) the reason he passed me back was because I was passing Ryan Newman and two cars, with no one in front of us-the next car was way up-going down the straightaway side-by-side gave Kyle the opportunity to get a big draft, and stick his nose in there when we got to turn one. So suddenly he is back and he knows if he didn’t clear me there, that we would be a position behind. So he just floored it, and if it is close someone is going to lift. So that is the way I look at it. You just put someone in that position, and it’s all up to the guy on the inside. His spotter was telling him outside, outside, outside.”
If you watch NASCAR week in and week out this is exactly the type of racing we want to see. Side by side racing in order to get the position on the other driver; side by side racing in order to win the race. This is the dream of every race fan and every driver.
Here is the problem: the only way to get that side by side racing we want is for the driver on the inside to feather the petal enough to not get loose and run up into the driver on the outside. The driver on the outside needs to do the same to maintain his position and keep off the wall.
What Kyle Busch did was force the issue by driving too hard, expecting to intimidate the driver on the outside to lift and simply let him by. This might be a great strategy if you’re racing Mark Martin or Jeff Burton, but at the end of a race even that strategy will fail. This is what we saw from Kasey Kahne.
Sure this was just one race but Kyle Busch does this more often than not. He over drives his car near the end of a race and puts himself in a position that takes himself out of contention. In this race he did manage to bring the car home twelfth, but other times he has taken himself out.
As for Busch winning a Championship, he cannot race every driver like this. It might work in the Nationwide or Truck Series but there will always be one driver who isn’t intimidated. It will only take one to keep him from winning, or worse yet, ruin his day. In the Chase for the Sprint Cup a bad or even mediocre race will keep you from a Championship.
Kyle Busch is one heck of a driver. The only problem is he has to reserve the move he made on Kasey Kahne for coming off of turn four on the last lap at “Enter Name of Speedway Here”. That will make him a great driver and create the kind of racing we all want to see.
Feature Photo Credit: 298968 NASCAR Via Getty Images