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Bristol: Some things are just worth repeating

by Dave Grayson
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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Kyle Busch bows to his cheering fans after winning another Nationwide race
A surprise resurrection of the Harvick vs. Busch feud, under strange circumstances, led to a lot of observations from the recent NASCAR visit to the Bristol Motor Speedway. Many of those observations produced some comments that deserve to be repeated.

Highlighting the string of NASCAR night races at Bristol was the Camping World Truck Series event. That's where the on track dust up between Kyle Busch and Elliott Sadler turned into three days of comments that somehow involved Kevin Harvick. Busch, in an effort pass Sadler ran into the front of his truck and slammed into the wall. He made a quick recovery and no caution flag was thrown. However Busch slowly moved around the track and, when Sadler arrived at full speed, he spun him out with a move that was clearly intentional.

An understandably livid Sadler came over his radio and said "that son of a b***h pulled in front of me. I don't know what he's mad about. It ain't my ******* fault. He ran up into me. If he wants to talk about it after the race, I'll be glad to. If I could I would break his jaw in four spots. It's what I'd like to do right now."  It was later reported that the two drivers did talk things over and basically agreed to disagree and it appears to be over and done with at least for now.

Apparently Kyle Busch wasn't quite ready to let it go and actually found a way to involve Kevin Harvick his season long Sprint Cup rival. Busch felt Sadler was acting on Harvick's behalf when he caused him to hit the wall. In a post wreck interview Busch was asked for an explanation and replied: "the guy, (Sadler), is paid by KHI, (Kevin Harvick Inc), so what do you think? He ran into me three times prior in the race and then spun me down the backstretch. He hooked me so I wrecked him."

It's true that Elliott Sadler is an employee of KHI. But Sadler's contract with Harvick is for his full time services as their team driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. While he has on occasion driven a KHI truck in the NASCAR Camping World Series, on this particular night at Bristol he was driving a truck for Joe Denette Motorsports. The other important aspect here is the fact that Kevin Harvick simply doesn't need  help from one of his drivers to deal with Kyle Busch.

By the way, where was Kevin Harvick when all of the Busch-Sadler action was taking place? He was in front of the race field in the process of winning this third, consecutive, truck series race. One of the interesting issues here was the lead for the coveted owner's points championship. Prior to the Bristol truck race, Kevin Harvick Inc and Kyle Busch Motorsports were tied in the standings. Following the Bristol race KHI now holds a 34 point lead in the new standings and that's something else that may have rubbed Busch the wrong way.

On the Friday morning, prior to the first Sprint up practice session, it was reported that Harvick hailed Busch and asked if he had "seen the replay from Wednesday's truck race." Busch reportedly kept walking through the garage and didn't respond.

Later in the day Harvick was conducting a press conference, in the speedway media center, and it was only inevitable that the truck race was going to become a topic for discussion. Responding, Harvick said "the first thing that happened was Kyle Busch shoved him up the race track and then he got mad because Elliott ran into the back of him, and then he, (Busch), drove over the front of him and wrecked himself. "It's just like old Kyle, I guess, showed up last week and really laid into the fact that he was kind of pouting because he was getting his butt whipped. If he keeps running his mouth he might get it whipped off of the track."

From all of this drama came a genuine funny moment from SPEED Channel reporter Hermie Sadler, the older brother of the truck race victim, and Kurt Busch, the older brother of the truck race instigator. At the beginning of a live interview Sadler asked: "your brother seems to have a problem with my brother, does that mean you have a problem with me?" Kurt Busch had a little problem answering the question. Then again, it's difficult to speak when you're laughing that hard.

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I just wanted you to know that this week's "comment" column was never intended to become a bash Kyle Busch festival. Somehow the circumstances of the Bristol weekend just turned it that way. I actually respect his talent as a driver and I'm quite impressed with his NASCAR numbers such as becoming the winningest driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series after winning his 50th race at Bristol. I just felt like you needed to know this.

Now let's get back to some more Kyle Busch bashing.

A part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup tradition at the Bristol Motor Speedway is the driver introduction process. The drivers get to select their walk on music and introduce themselves over the track's PA system. Last year Brad Keselowski, yet another alumni member of a Kyle Busch feud, walked out on the stage and announced "Kyle Busch is an ass !"

Prior to this year's Bristol race it was only natural that someone would ask Keselowski if he was planning some special announcements. Responding, he said "every autograph signing that I go to, there are two comments that are always made: one, wreck Kyle Busch and two, Kyle Busch is still an ass. It's very interesting. I want to have a fan base that likes me for who I am and what I do performance wise. But I understand that there is more to this sport than that."

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Kevin Harvick, and his #29 Budweiser/Richard Childress Racing team, officially clinched a berth in the 2011 Sprint Cup Chase For The Championship following the Bristol race. He actually made quick work of that process with his three wins earlier in the season. But here lately he has felt some frustration with some team performance anxiety. That frustration showed during the course of a 22nd place finish, one lap down, at Bristol. Harvick came over his radio and said: "we haven't run (good) in four f*****g months. We've got to get it figured out. We keep doing the same s**t every week."

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Right after the Bristol race, Goodyear conducted a two day tire test to determine what tire compound was going to be needed for the Sprint Cup teams to race on a brand new surface recently completed at the Phoenix International Raceway. Kurt Busch was one of five drivers participating in that test. Unfortunately, on the first day, Busch cut down a tire and hit the wall hard. The team had to roll out a backup car.

That prompted Jimmie Johnson, who had a pit road problem with Busch after the Pocono race earlier this month, to send a "Twitter" message to Busch's Penske Racing team mate Brad Keselowski. That message read: "the boys back in the shop are looking for pictures of Kurt's wrecked car from Phoenix. Any help?"

It's not exactly clear if the #48 team received the pictures of what they planned to do with them.

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There were of course a lot of comments regarding Danica Patrick's plans to come to NASCAR full time in 2012. One of the more honest ones, via "Twitter", came from the always candid Kyle Petty who wrote "there are drivers out there who can win weekly, but Danica brings a lot of fans and fans means MONEY and NASCAR loves money!"

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The final comment of the week belongs to NASCAR Hall Of Fame member Darrell Waltrip who recently commented, also on "Twitter", on the difference between modern day race drivers and those from the past. In his message Waltrip wrote: "one of my driving buddies once said, the difference between drivers today and in the past, we had wine FOR dinner, they have wine WITH dinner."

Now there's a comment that deserves to be repeated. 

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