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NASCAR All-Star Race Postscript

by Dave Grayson
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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Kurt Busch
During the annual NASCAR Sprint All Star Challenge weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway we witnessed the return of "Bad Kyle" who took his act to brand new heights. We found out just how good Joe Gibbs' diplomatic skills really are. We watched the older Busch brother win a million dollars despite the problems that also sent him into an early race tirade. Finally there seems to be a bonafide lug nut mystery to resolve. With all of those thoughts in mind let's begin with:

THUMBS-UP to Kurt Busch for overcoming a handling condition to win the All Star Challenge. Prior to seeing the checkers, after leading the first 50 lap segment, Busch's Dodge started handling like a dump truck and he actually pancaked the wall twice early in the event.

That leads to a THUMBS-UP to the SPEED Channel for having the initiative to tap into his team's radio communications and record a tirade elder Busch style that was peppered with four letter words. It was highly entertaining at times.

It also leads to a THUMBS-UP for crew chief Steve Addington who took his temperamental driver in his stride and instead remained focus on what he needed to do to improve his car. That should not surprise anyone. Addington is capable of producing a hide tougher than an armadillo. He learned how to do that after spending two years as the crew chief for the younger Busch brother.

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THUMBS-UP for the temporary return of "Bad" Kyle Busch and all of the entertainment that came with him during the NASCAR Sprint All Star Challenge race last Saturday night. His latest tirade came after Busch "thought" that team mate Denny Hamlin had put him into the wall and cost him the million dollar winner's check. This is why drivers should always check the video tape before going nuts on live television.

Another THUMBS-UP goes to the SPEED Channel for once again making sure that the tirade from the other Busch brother was recorded for posterity. The commentary was intense and included Busch announcing that he wanted to kill his team mate. Not sense the glory days of shock jock Howard Stern have we heard that many "F" bombs over public airwaves. I'm now wondering if the Busch brothers set a new NASCAR record for "F" bombs during the course of a single race.
But WHAT’S-UP with Busch parking his wrecked Toyota in front of Denny Hamlin's car hauler to wait for his team mate after the race? What was he going to do, kick him in his recently surgically repaired knee?

Speaking of checking the tape, a THUMBS-UP goes to team owner Joe Gibbs for having the wisdom to immediately proceed to Hamlin's hauler to start the process of calming Busch down. After Hamlin arrived Gibbs arranged to have their incident cued on a video monitor for all to see. It was reported that Busch at first wasn't in the mood to look at the video screen so it took a few moments before he saw what his boss wanted him to see. As the old saying goes "the tape doesn't lie" and the angry Busch started calming down. It was another testament to the outstanding people skills Gibbs possesses.

Meanwhile outside of the Hamlin team's car hauler was a crush of media waiting for the bell to start round one of NASCAR's fight of the century. Not since Lindsay Lohan's last court date have we've seen that much media crowded around a doorway. That leads to a THUMBS-UP to the member of the Hamlin team who came outside and served cookies to the media and advised that the team meeting was going to take longer than expected.

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In other All Star Challenge related items, THUMBS-UP to Carl Edwards for winning the fan vote that placed him in the starting line up for the race. He parlayed that opportunity into a tenth place finish. The results of the fan vote suggests that the Atlanta incident with Brad Keselowski earlier in the year is now where it belongs: forgotten.

THUMBS-UP to drivers Martin Truex Jr and Greg Biffle for racing their way into the All Star Challenge by finishing one-two in the Sprint Open last chance qualifier. By the way, keep an eye on the Truex team, these guys are starting to show some strength.

THUMBS-UP to Denny Hamlin's team, led by crew chief Mike Ford, for winning the All Star Pit Challenge last Wednesday night.

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THUMBS-UP to Kyle Busch for winning Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte coming off of another one of the series' famed green-white-checker finishes.
However, WHAT’S-UP with the bizarre reports of unexplainable loose lug nuts on two of the vehicles prior to the race? 11 lug nuts on three wheels were discovered to be loose on the Busch truck prior to the start of the race. On lap ten of the race driver Austin Dillon, in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, hit the wall. It was later discovered that there were three loose lug nuts on his left rear wheel.

Both trucks were parked close together in a secured impound area following qualifying. A spokes person for Kyle Busch Motorsports said all lug nuts were tight on their Toyota prior to qualifying and the item was signed off on their pre race check list.

At this point NASCAR has deemed this as a team issue and I hope they're right. I can't imagine anyone hitting that level of evil. It's also hard to imagine anyone being able to access any vehicle in the impound area where security is at a high level without being seen .

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Finally this week THUMBS-UP to NASCAR and their stellar grand opening and induction ceremony for their Hall Of Fame. Every aspect of the program was extremely well presented and it brought back a lot of memories for all of us old school fans.

THUMBS-UP to Wheaties for a new campaign that will have the late Dale Earnhardt Sr on their box cover. Earnhardt is the first stock car driver to be placed on the famed box of cereal two times. The first time was back in 1997 when Earnhardt and Richard Childress Racing ran a special paint scheme promoting Wheaties during the All Star Challenge. Earnhardt fans can expect to see the special Wheaties box on store shelves around the latter part of June.

The final WHAT’S-UP goes to NASCAR icon Donnie Allison and ironically also involves Dale Earnhardt Sr. In an interview on the SPEED Channel Allison was commenting on the Hall Of Fame and the five inaugural members. While referring to Earnhardt as a true NASCAR champion and a good friend, he also raised a lot of eyebrows when he suggested that had it not been for his fatal crash, at Daytona in 2001, he might not have made the first ever class of inductees to the new Hall Of Fame.

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