NASCAR Hall A Good Luck Charm for Drivers
History is being made as recent as this race season and the NASCAR Hall of Fame is keeping up to speed with celebrating historical moments and success. The attraction’s newest exhibit highlights historic moments of 2010 and will be on display in the Great Hall now through January 2011.
The exhibit features Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Impala, which he drove to victory in the 2010 Brickyard 400, and Kyle Busch’s No. 18 NASCAR.com RaceView Toyota Tundra from his unprecedented Bristol sweep. The history-making race cars are fresh from victory lane still sporting racetrack battle scars, celebratory burnout damage and debris, including rubber, grass, soda and champagne.
“This is as real as it gets,” said Winston Kelley, executive director for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “Guests are feet away from cars that have marked their place in history in recent months. The NASCAR Hall of Fame not only preserves history but also celebrates it as it happens. Chip’s three notable wins and Kyle’s sweep certainly define some of the greatest feats of 2010.”
GANASSI’S HISTORIC TRIO
Few races in motorsports have the esteem of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, and Indy Racing League’s Indianapolis 500. An owner winning all three of these races was unheard of until 2010. In February, McMurray, driving for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, won the Daytona 500. On July 25, 2010, he drove the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Impala to victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Brickyard 400, making him only the third driver to win both events in the same season. Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 in one of Ganassi’s cars, making Ganassi the first team owner to win all three legendary auto races in the same season.
After winning the Brickyard 400, McMurray celebrated with a smoky, tire-spinning burnout. The celebration was so enthusiastic that McMurray’s right-rear tire exploded, damaging the right-rear quarter panel. McMurray took the lead with 11 laps to go and won the race by 1.4 seconds. The win gave Ganassi owner victories in America’s three most prestigious automobile races: the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Indianapolis 500—an unprecedented accomplishment.
BUSCH’S BRISTOL SWEEP
Three races, three NASCAR series, two teams, one track and one driver add up to Kyle Busch making history this year. At Bristol Motor Speedway in August Kyle Busch became the first driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top series at the same track on the same weekend. The win was his 10th NASCAR Nationwide Series win of 2010, tying the single-season record, which he has since broken. The victory also was Kyle Busch’s 40th in the series and third Camping World Truck Series win in a row at Bristol.
His dominance started Wednesday night when he drove the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 NASCAR.com RaceView Toyota Tundra to his third straight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race win at Bristol; he barely had enough fuel to make it to victory lane. Kyle Busch earned his next two victories driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. That Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race win was full of action and drama, including a spin by Brad Keselowski who had been battling Kyle Busch for the lead. Saturday night belonged to Kyle Busch in the Sprint Cup Series race when he led 283 laps, including the last 71.
THE LUCK OF THE HALL
The Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Tundra are the second installment of rotating exhibits to be featured in the Great Hall, where new exhibits are scheduled to debut every six months. An addition may come much sooner, though, if Kurt Busch, Kyle’s older brother, can accomplish an unprecedented feat this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch is in position to become the only driver in Series history to win the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600 and Bank of America 500 in the same season. If he wins Saturday night becoming the first driver to win all three races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the same season, Penske Racing has agreed for his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, a.k.a. the Blue Deuce, to be added to the new exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Kurt Busch, who admits to being superstitious, may have extra luck on his side this weekend.
“We have a great track record with wins and appearances here at the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” said Kelley. “There have been six drivers or owners who have visited the facility and won within a week. If this keeps up, we may have to start taking appointments from drivers wanting the good luck.”
Appearances that correlated with wins:
- Denny Hamlin – visited May 6 during soft opening with his family and won at Darlington that weekend
- Greg Biffle – visited July 21 for a photo shoot and won Pocono one week later
- Jamie McMurray – was scheduled on Sept. 7 for a commercial shoot and won the Atlanta Nationwide race just a few days prior
- Richard Childress – visited Sept. 14 for a nominee appearance and his driver Clint Bowyer won Loudon later that week
- Clint Bowyer – was scheduled to visit Sept. 22 for a news conference and fan Q&A, and he won Loudon just days before
- Rick Hendrick – visited Sept. 21 for a nominee appearance and driver Jimmie Johnson won Dover later that week
“Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano are all scheduled to appear Sunday at the Hall, so Kurt has a little competition for the karma this week. Of course, we wish everyone luck this weekend, but it would be a phenomenal accomplishment and a great addition to our new exhibit if Kurt wins,” said Kelley.