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NASCAR Nashville postscript

by Dave Grayson
Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had the weekend off and that provided an opportunity for NASCAR's Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series to shine on their own in music city at the Nashville Super Speedway. When the two events had concluded two custom guitars were handed to the winners but the majesty of those moments were overshadowed by yet another case of on track retaliation. With those thoughts in mind let's begin with:

Kevin Harvick
THUMBS-UP to Kevin Harvick for his impressive NASCAR Nationwide Series win at Nashville last Saturday. "Happy" Harvick proudly held the winner's Gibson Les Paul guitar custom painted by Sam Bass the official artist of NASCAR to celebrate his second series win of the season, his second on the Nashville Super Speedway's 1.3 mile concrete oval and his 36th series career win. The owner of Kevin Harvick Inc, along with wife DeLana, still hasn't decided whether or not to run full time schedules in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series despite the fact he's looking more and more like a potential Nationwide champion.

Another THUMBS-UP goes out to the winner's crew chief, Ernie Cope, for the gutsy two tire call on the final stop that helped get his driver to victory lane.

WHAT'S-UP with the budding new rivalry between Jason Leffler and James Buescher? The two drivers made early contact in the race when Buescher's car got loose, tapped Leffler and then sent him hard into the retaining wall. Leffler's car was badly damaged and later returned to the race 64 laps down presumably looking to salvage any championship points that may have been available.

We later found out that Leffler may have had another plan in mind. He found Buescher's car and squeezed it into the wall. The contact caused a temporary engine fire in Buescher's car. During the course of ensuing caution laps, NASCAR took a look at the video replays and ordered Leffler to park his car for aggressive driving.

Leffler never came close to admitting intentional retaliation. He did say that he car was hard to handle due to the previous crash damage and "something may have been rubbing." That leads to a THUMBS-UP for thinking out of the box while facing a difficult question and a WHAT'S-UP for a response that everyone thinks is completely full of crap.

Meanwhile Buescher clearly felt that the hit from Leffler was indeed intentional. But he does get a WHAT'S-UP for that puzzling post wreck comment when he said "everybody seems to be mad at me lately."

WHAT'S-UP with four wide racing, on a track not designed for it, that led to a lap 115 multi car crash. Driver Steve Wallace, a true victim in this incident, hobbled off to the infield care center with two broken bones in his right foot. Wallace will need approximately one month for recovery. He plans on driving in Friday night's Nationwide Series race in Phoenix and will wear a modified racing shoe on his broken foot.

WHAT'S-UP with that frightening jet plane incident that scared the H-E- double tooth picks out of several Nationwide team members? A Jet Express charter jet flew team members from J R Motorsports, Rusty Wallace Racing and Braun Racing to the Smyrna-New Rutherford Airport, near Nashville, when the plane was struck by lightning. Thankfully the plane was approximately 15 minutes away from the airport and made a safe landing. That landing occurred despite reports that the plane sustained burn holes from the lightning strike. Not wanting to take anymore chances, Jet Express sent another plane to transport the teams home to North Carolina after the race.

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THUMBS-UP to Kyle Busch for his impressive win in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Nashville. The event marked the "Rowdy One's" 64th win from all three of NASCAR's national touring series. But more importantly it was Busch's first win as an owner driver. He officially launched a two truck team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, this February. It only took four races to park one of his Toyota trucks in victory lane.

Following some amazing burn outs, Busch parked his Dollar General Stores Toyota Tundra in victory lane to start the celebration. Another THUMBS-UP goes to Busch for not smashing the custom painted Gibson Les Paul guitar in victory lane as he did last year. The public relations backlash from that incident went on for weeks. It may be my imagination, but it appears that team ownership has brought out a new level of maturity in Busch.

Another THUMBS-UP goes out to another driver team owner who finished second. Kevin Harvick, who like Busch drives a part time schedule in the series, was vying for his fifth consecutive win. He may have just missed that personal milestone, but he did have a very impressive run in this race.

THUMBS-UP to Kevin Harvick Inc driver Ron Hornaday Jr who followed his boss under he checkers in third. Hornaday's 2010 season began with two crashes in the first two races and he was mired down in the lower level of the points standings. But since that time the four time series champion has rebounded and the Nashville finish moves him up to sixth in the points.

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The final THUMBS-UP of the week goes to the young patients, and their parents, from the Nashville area Ronald McDonald House who gave the drivers the command to start their engines prior to the truck race. It was a precious sight and a very good idea.

The final WHAT'S-UP of the week goes to Michael Waltrip for his attempt to sing the Dollar General Stores commercial jingle during the broadcast of the truck series race. Please stop that Mikey. It sounded like a bad audition for your new Speed Channel talent show "Fast Track To Fame."

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