Tag Archives: Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch Doesn’t Like the Emphasis Being Given to Younger Drivers

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch created quite a stir a couple of weeks ago when he was asked if there was an emphasis on the younger generation of drivers and whether it bothered him.

It is bothersome. We’ve paid our dues, and our sponsors have and everything else, and all you’re doing is advertising all these younger guys for fans to figure out and pick up on and choose as their favorite driver.” Busch added, “I think it’s stupid. But I don’t know, I’m not the marketing genius that’s behind this deal. You know, I just do what I can do, and my part of it is what my part is. I guess one thing that can be said is probably the younger guys are bullied into doing more things than the older guys are because we say no a lot more because we’ve been there, done that and have families, things like that, and want to spend as much time as we can at home. You know, maybe that’s some of it. But you know, it’s some of these marketing campaigns and things like that, pushing these younger drivers, is I wouldn’t say all that fair.

In 2001 Kyle Busch drove the No. 99 Ford Truck in what was then the Craftsman Truck Series in six races. He was 16. He had two top ten finishes; finishing ninth in his first race at IRP and last race at this home track at Las Vegas. He could not race at California as the tobacco company who sponsored the race objected to a 16-year-old racing.

In December of 2001, NASCAR enacted a rule that all drivers had to be 18 years old in order to compete in all three-top series. Kyle Busch was not able to race in 2002 and until his 18th birthday in May of 2003. Roush was not able to hold the 99 Truck open in 2003 for Busch as they had another great driver, Carl Edwards, available.

If only NASCAR found a way to embrace young talented drivers. Such as finding ways for the sponsor to change the message such as the “21 means 21” message when a driver under 21 would win the Coors Light Pole.

On Twitter and at the track, I have met a lot of Kyle Busch fans. They are very passionate. They are also very young. When I say young; I mean under 30 young. The demographic that NASCAR needs and wants.

Oh, what could have been. Imagine how much more phenomenal Kyle would be had he been able to compete in the Truck Series in 2002 and 2003. Could this have brought more attention to NASCAR? Could this have brought even more young fans to NASCAR?

Kyle Busch is right. NASCAR is putting an emphasis on the younger drivers. They must in order to keep the series fresh. It is not a slight on the seasoned veterans and their sponsors; who as Busch said “paid our dues”. More eye balls watching is good for everyone. That is the goal.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

 Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 352835 Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Win and Advance in the Chase, Win Again and Eliminate a Chaser

Martin Truex Jr. was caught a lap down at Chicagoland Speedway. He was fast, so fast that he all but unlapped himself. Fast forward to this past week at Dover International Speedway and Martin Truex Jr. was real fast. He was so fast that he almost lapped the field. When he won there were only six cars on the lead lap. Truex has now won two of the three races in the Round of 16 of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Wining one race automatically advances you to the next round of the Chase. Winning another race may keep another competitor who may have needed to win from advancing. In this case it did not since Kyle Busch already had enough points to advance. It does get one to question what could be done with multiple wins in the Chase. Can there be a way to encourage and reward it.

Here is an idea. What if drivers win multiple races in the Chase and an extra driver is eliminated from the Chase in each round of a multiple win. For instance this round Martin Truex Jr. won two races in the first round. The next round of the Chase is the Round of 12. Since he won an additional race then the next round could have only 11 drivers; 16 drivers minus the scheduled 4 plus an extra one.

Kevin Harvick won the second race of the Round of 16. If he should win another race in the Round of 12 then another driver would be eliminated for the Round of 8 such that there would only be 7 drivers in that round.

Extrapolating out if Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. should happen to win three races in the Round of 12 then there would only be 5 drivers in the Round of 8.  If this pattern continues then Harvick and Truex would be left to fight it out at Homestead Miami Speedway.

If Truex were to win all three races of the round of 8 then he would win the Championship prior to Homestead Miami Speedway.

Think about it. Right now you win to guarantee to advance in a round but you race to maintain your position in the standings to advance. This format throws some Offense into the game. Win and advance. Win again to eliminate your competition. This just ramps it up to a whole new level.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 321972 Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images

Kyle Busch is the Tiger Woods of the NASCAR XFINITY Series

This week Brian Costa wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal titled “How Golf Got Out of the Woods”. It hit me like a brick. The gist of the article was that in 2006 Woods was so dominating and was the only draw to the sport. There were no other stars. Tiger Woods was the one and only draw. Golf has many stars in the tour that can win and compete against one another since Tiger no longer is the show. The NASCAR XFINITY Series is where the PGA Tour was in the mid 2000’s. Read the article here.

To be clear this story isn’t just about Kyle Busch. It’s about a second tier series whose stars or future stars are in the shadow of the Sprint Cup Series stars. This past race at Texas Motor Speedway the race winner was the reigning Sprint Cup Champion, Kyle Busch. Busch has won four of the six XFINITY races this season. Third place went to previous Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski. Dale Earnhardt Jr. came in fifth and had some air time.

Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson, though still a young driver, led the second highest of 38 laps. Austin Dillon was also in the race and finished eighth. The only bright spot is Eric Jones, a series rookie in the same equipment as Busch, seemed to have something for Busch and came in second.

Every time this subject comes up fans of those drivers say that they need to be there so people will watch the race. The need to be there so people will go to the race. Those thoughts seam valid except it’s not working. Viewership is down year in and out.

The point is that the XFINITY Series does not have its own stars, its own rivalries. Case in point; Ask yourself who is the current points leader of the Series? Were they even on TV for any significant time? I bet many don’t know without looking it up.

Daniel Suarez is the current point’s leader. Elliott Sadler is just behind him one point back. Justin Allgaier is third nine points back. They were shown a few times on TV but does anyone want to watch the series championship while they are battling for a top ten.

Back to the article; the quote that hit me was from Geoff Ogilvy who was paired with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at Medinah in 2006. Ogilvy said. “I don’t think golf is better without Tiger, from a fan’s perspective. But no Tiger has shown people that there are other golfers worth watching.”

That quote substituting “Tiger” for “Cup Driver” is and of itself what it is all about. The future of all the NASCAR Series may just depend on it especially as our stars retire.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 318383 Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway


Does Anyone Have Anything for Superman at Martinsville?

Jimmie Johnson has as perfect a driver rating at Martinsville Speedway as a driver can have of 118.4.  This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to action from the Easter break. Does anyone have anything for Jimmie Johnson?

To reiterate a perfect driver rating is 150. The only way a driver can have a perfect rating is if they lead all the laps and win the race. It is impossible for a driver after many races, in this case 22 races to have a perfect rating. A dominating driver will have a rating of 120. Johnson is almost there.

If it was up to me we would race at Martinsville more than two times a year, it’s a special place for me, and my Lowe’s team.” Johnson added, “I had a great weekend off with the family, we are still so excited to have won California and heading to one of my favorite tracks. I’m ready to get back behind the wheel.

Martinsville is one of the hardest tracks in NASCAR. That is what makes Johnson’s driver rating so impressive. There is hope though.

Denny Hamlin, the winner of this race last year, also has an impressive driver rating of 110. Of active drivers Hamlin is second only to Johnson in wins with five to his eight.  Jimmie Johnson has not won this race since the spring of 2013.

I think it will be another fight this weekend to get the win at Martinsville. We have had a lot of success over the years at that track and seem to battle the same guys each year for the win.” Hamlin added, “Jimmie (Johnson) is obviously strong there and our teammates will be tough to beat. Friday’s qualifying is big in terms of getting a good pit stall and on Sunday it’s important to have a mistake-free race. Any sort of issue or penalty can get you a couple laps down in a hurry and spoil a good day. I believe our FedEx Camry will be up front competing for another win.

As Denny Hamlin noted it is important to have a mistake-free race. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick will be there to pounce and scoop up the win. Last year Joey Logano and his teammate Brad Keselowski worked well together but just couldn’t get it done in spite of leading many laps between them in both races. They will also be a factor. If any of these drivers can qualify up front and race mistake free they will have something for Johnson or Hamlin.

If you cannot get to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500 it will be broadcast live on FS1 Sunday April 3rd, 2016 at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 318109 Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Driver Rating
Martinsville Speedway
STP 500
Provided by NASCAR Statistics Stats Represent Points Races From 2005-Present
Rank Car Driver Team Avg. Finish High Rating Avg. Rating
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s 6.9 149.1 118.4
2 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground 8.1 141.1 110.6
3 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Nationwide 11.9 133.1 99.4
4 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s 75 15.1 133.4 96.5
5 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John’s 14.7 129 94.6
6 15 Clint Bowyer Aaron???s 13.7 127.9 92.5
7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil 14.9 121.9 89.7
8 2 Brad Keselowski AutoTrader 15.5 114.9 87.8
9 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald???s 16.8 114.4 86.9
10 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar 14.5 109.6 86.5
11 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General 13.9 134.6 85.9
12 19 Carl Edwards Arris 15.5 121.1 81.5
13 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy / Haas 21.2 115.8 80.2
14 14 Brian Vickers Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 19.2 112.4 79.4
15 5 Kasey Kahne Panasonic 20.5 112.8 77.5

A NASCAR Storybook Ending – Kyle Busch

It is finally upon us, the season ending NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead Miami Speedway where a new Champion will be crowned. This is the second year for the still new Championship format where four drivers will race each other to see who wins.  Each of the four contenders can write their own personal story to end the 2015 NASCAR history book.

Kyle Busch is not supposed to be in the Championship. He missed eleven races of the regular season and without a waiver from NASCAR would not be in contention to win the Championship at Homestead Miami Speedway. Unfortunately for many NASCAR fans if Busch wins this will be the Story even though it shouldn’t be.

It was tough to be at home and laying in bed and whatever and watching other guys race my race car first of all, but I can’t say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief) and the teamwork and everything that went through this season of being able to keep everyone together and keep everyone focused and motivated for my return to get back in that car.” Busch added, “Since then, to go on and win some of these races and to get ourselves Chase eligible and with the rules the way the rules are, it was fortunate for us to be in this position and I feel really good about things. Can’t say enough about the M&M’s Crispy Camry tonight, we did what we needed to do and I felt like we finished fourth, which was about where we should have – maybe third, we could have run third. Overall, just did what we needed to do tonight, looking forward to next week.

Make no mistake about it. Kyle Busch came back from his injury, put on a show on his way to racing the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry into the top 30 in points so he could use his waiver. In reality he raced his way up to 20th in points wining four races along the way. With 11 top five finishes in only 24 races his season was incredible.

Fred Lorenzen is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame for his incredible seasons running less than all the races. It’s a different time but there are similarities to Kyle Busch’s season.

If Kyle Busch can win the Championship after missing eleven races in the season it will be one for the record books. His record in his shortened season was incredible. To cap that off with a Championship will truly be a Storybook finish.

If you cannot get to Homestead Miami Speedway for the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday November 22nd it will be broadcast live on NBC at 3 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 314252 Christian Petersen/Getty Images