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NASCAR Nashville postscript

by Dave Grayson
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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Kyle Busch raises his winning Guitar in Nashville
Getty Images for NASCAR
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series took their annual Easter weekend break and that provided a well deserved opportunity for the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series to shine in the national spotlight. Both series spent the previous weekend at the Nashville Super Speedway where those special Gibson guitars, custom painted by renown artist Sam Bass, were waiting for the winners.

THUMBS-UP to Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing for winning the Nationwide Series event at Nashville. During the pre race practice session, Edwards described his car as being "terrible" and called qualifying, where he earned the seventh starting position, "a struggle." But there was no evidence of those concerns once the race started. Edwards' Ford Mustang led the race five times for a total of 148 laps and outgunned Kyle Busch in the waning moments of the race. The victory marked his second win, and sixth top ten finish, of 2011 as well as his 31st career series win which ties him for fourth, with Jack Ingram, on the all time series win list. Known as "Concrete Carl", Edwards seems to always do well at concrete tracks like Nashville. Last Saturday marked his fourth win, in 12 starts, there as well as his sixth win on a concrete oval.

THUMBS-UP to NASCAR's new points structure and the impact its had on the Nationwide Series championship standings. Justin Allgaier left Nashville as the series' points leader. However the separation between the first seven positions in the standings is only seven points.

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THUMBS-UP for Kyle Busch for once again dominating a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event last Friday night in Nashville. When it comes to Busch's accomplishments, outside of the Sprint Cup Series, it generally all about racking up some impressive numbers and the Nashville race was no exception. The event marked his second win of the season and his 26th series win. In two starts, on Nashville's concrete oval, Busch has two wins, two poles and has led 271 of the posted 300 laps. Also, during the course of this race, he passed the 20,000 mark in total laps led in all three of NASCAR's national touring series. That feat was actually rather easy for Busch to accomplish because he led 140 of the 150 posted laps Friday night. It also marked the 11th win for his self owned Kyle Busch Motorsports since its inception two years ago.

But this is not to imply that his latest truck series win was easy. Ron Hornaday Jr pressed him hard during the final laps and passed him with eight laps to go following a restart. But the final yellow flag of the race came with only five laps remaining and this time Busch was the winner in the double file restart contest. Unfortunately for Hornaday, his truck wiggled on the final lap and he had to settle for a fourth place finish which allowed Busch to score the win with a 1.061 seconds margin of victory.

That leads to a THUMBS-UP to the so called "new Kyle Busch" for being extremely careful how he handled that custom painted Gibson guitar trophy. That was a far cry from "old Kyle Busch" who once destroyed one of those beautiful instruments while acting like a hyped up rock star.

THUMBS-UP goes to Nelson Piquet Jr and his second place finish in his Kevin Harvick Inc Chevrolet. That feat was a personal best for the series rookie, and ex formula one driver, who's trying to establish a new career in NASCAR. His efforts at Nashville already has observers saying "a star is born."

WHAT'S-UP with that bizarre pit road incident, with the new vented fuel can, during Timothy Peters' pit service? The team's gas man had difficulty getting the gas can's nozzle to release from the fuel entry mechanism. Meanwhile the truck came off of the jack and Peters left the pit box. Fortunately the gas man didn't give up and managed to dislodge the fuel can. Both the crew member and his gas can hit the ground but they fell inside of the pit box lines so there was no penalty. Amazingly, during the same pit stop sequence, the very same thing happened to driver James Buescher's gas man.

For something like this to happen to one team is rare, but for it to happen to two different teams within a matter of seconds of each other is rather bizarre. This new vented gas can has presented some concerns in the past most notably due to the entire load of fuel not getting into the gas tank. Perhaps it's time for NASCAR officials to take a look at the nozzles of these cans if they have not done so already.

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We have double final THUMBS-UPs this week with both of them going to the SPEED Channel. The first one is for the racing channel's recent milestone 200th broadcast of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The hard work of this broadcast team, both in front and behind the cameras, has helped bring this outstanding racing series to the forefront of national attention that it deserves. Having said that, WHAT'S-UP with driver Matt Crafton creaming the lovely Krista Voda with anniversary cake? Actually it was all in good fun and, after wiping off her face, Voda quipped "I'm the only one on the staff who got dessert."

The second THUMBS-UP for the SPEED Channel is for the documentaries they are showing on the lives and careers of the NASCAR Hall of Fame class of 2011. Last weekend's presentation featuring iconic team owner Bud Moore was outstanding.

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