Tag Archives: Texas Motor Speedway

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


Matt Kenseth Will Make it Seven at Texas Motor Speedway

Last week NASCAR and Matt Kenseth were at the paper clip called Martinsville Speedway for some short track racing and we had our sixth different winner. They always do things bigger in Texas and this week is no different. This week Matt Kenseth and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at Texas Motor Speedway for the Duck Commander 500. Matt Kenseth will make it seven different winners.

The Texas Motor Speedway is one of the staple 1 ½ mile speedways. Many times they are referred to as the cookie cutter tracks. In reality each and every one is different. This track is a D shaped oval with 24 degrees of banking in the turns and five degrees on the front and back stretches. It is one of the faster mile and a half tracks due to the banking. The race is 334 laps, or 501 miles.

Looking at the driver ratings for Texas Motor Speedway, Matt Kenseth has a slight edge over Jimmie Johnson at 107.2 and 106.4 respectively. Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards follow along with respectable numbers around 100. If you are into fantasy NASCAR racing, you will not go wrong picking a driver from this list.

Matt Kenseth has an average finish of 8.3 at Texas followed by, who else; Jimmie Johnson at 8.7. It’s not surprising that they both are also at the top of all the other stats at Texas.  Johnson has five runner-up finishes to Kenseth’s four. Kenseth has 13 top five finishes to Johnson’s 10. Johnson has three wins to Kenseth’s two.

Typically, Texas has been — I felt like — one of our better tracks at least statistically and how we generally performed here.  Last spring we didn’t run particularly well.  Last fall we ran better.  I got myself put to the back kind of toward the middle of the race — was able to work our way back to fourth or something like that.” Kenseth added, “It’s a fun track.  It’s one I’ve always really, really enjoyed since the first time I came here.  I’m looking forward this weekend.   There’s a few different things — with that new right side tire and obviously the new rules on the cars and all that stuff.  I’m looking forward to getting started.

A couple of weeks ago tire management and wear made for some great racing at AutoClub Speedway. This was the result of teams trying to exceed what could be gotten out of the Goodyear tires. Camber, or the angle of the tire to the pavement, will be a big issue this week due to the large difference between the high banking and relatively flat front and back stretches.  This week at Texas teams will require even more tire management leading to a really exciting race.

Everybody likes to group the mile-and-a-halves — and really I think they’re all really unique.  Texas is a very unique race track with the transitions from the straight-aways to the corners — the transitions are a lot different than any other race track that we go to.” Kenseth elaborated, “I feel like this place is pretty unique.  I think the surface, tire drop off, wear — where you run on track for the race — will be somewhat like California.  There somewhat like each other.  High speed race track like that.  Again, I think all the racings been good this year so far and I think that everybody’s still learning these new set-ups and the ride height thing and the added down force and all that stuff.  Everybody’s still gaining on that.   I would expect the competition would keep getting closer together for the next month or two while everybody’s kind of still figuring it out.

If you cannot get to Texas Motor Speedway, it will be broadcast live on FOX on Sunday, April 6th starting at 2:30 PM.

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

Feature Photo Credit: 294985 NASCAR Via Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Texas
Matt Kenseth……………………….. 107.2
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 106.4
Greg Biffle………………………….. 101.8
Kyle Busch…………………………. 101.6
Tony Stewart…………………………. 99.1
Carl Edwards………………………… 97.5
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 93.8
Denny Hamlin……………………….. 93.3
Clint Bowyer…………………………. 92.3
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 90.6
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Texas Motor Speedway.