Tag Archives: Joe Gibbs Racing

First Sprint Cup Appearance in Kentucky

Article first published as First Sprint Cup Appearance in Kentucky on Technorati.

Kentucky is an unknown for many Sprint Cup competitors

Almost halfway between Lousiville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, you will find the small agricultural town of Sparta. Population – 209. (Except this weekend when the small community swells to over 100,000 as they play host to the NASCAR family and fans.)

For the first time since Kentucky Speedway opened way back in 2000, the top tier NASCAR division is in town for the inaugural Sprint Cup race. The road from an empty field in 1998 to the Quaker State 400 this weekend has been long, tough and filled with more bumps than Daytona’s turn four.

Kentucky Speedway ultimately had to sue NASCAR to get them to consider a Sprint Cup race. In the end it took a new owner group to make that happen and the lawsuit faded faster than Scott Speed’s career.

This race is the wild card, the unknown, the equalizer, the place where any advantage is welcome, but in short supply. If there is such a thing as an advantage it might go to guys like Joey Logano who have run in the Nationwide series and turned hundreds of laps on the mile and a half oval.

It’s not just the drivers. The crew chiefs and team engineers are scratching their heads to come up with a game plan. Everyone starts from a blank page. Even the defending duo of Chad Knaus/Jimmie Johnson could be as lost as everyone else along pit road.

Experience is everything in this sport and there is very little of it in the garage for this race. Look for the team that can learn fast, adapt to changing conditions, keep up with the race car and survive Saturday night to roll into victory lane as the first Sprint Cup victor at Kentucky.

The Nationwide/Feed the Children 300 starts Friday night at 7:30pm Eastern, on ESPN. The Sprint Cup/Quaker State 400 goes off Saturday night at 7:30pm on TNT.


Kyle Busch is Fast in the Wrong Places

Article first published as Kyle Busch is Fast in the Wrong Places on Technorati.

Kyle Busch has been called reckless many times. Now he has the traffic citation to prove it.

On Tuesday, Busch was observed by officers of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Department, driving a yellow Lexus sports car recklessly on congested country rounds. They clocked the vehicle doing nearly three times the posted speed limit at 128 mph in a 45 zone. Talk about the need for speed.

He was stopped and cited for careless and reckless driving, and speeding. Busch was ticketed and immediately released. (If it was me I would still be looking for a bail bondsman.)

The Toyota was a prototype concept car on loan to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. With an estimated sticker price of $300,000, Busch described the car to the officers as a “Toy.”

That part of North Carolina is somewhat congested at that time of the day. Many residents were outraged that Busch seemed to get preferential treatment due to his celebrity status. The sheriff’s department defended their handling of the traffic stop saying the officer was within policy to cite and release the NASCAR driver.

Later in the day Busch released this statement: “Today I received a traffic citation in Iredell County. I was test driving a new sports car and I got carried away. I went beyond the speed I should have been going on a public road. I apologize to the public, my fans, sponsors, and race teams for my lack of judgment. I take responsibility for my actions and I can assure you that something like this will never happen again. I thank the Iredell County Sheriff’s Department and all law enforcement for the hard work they do every day to protect the public and to enforce the laws in a fair and equitable manner.”

Thank you for the apology Mister Busch, but this isn’t over. Although still a misdemeanor, the excessive speed involved should garner some penalties in line with the excess. Busch will have to appear in court and faces the possible suspension of his driver’s license for up to 12 months and pay a fine of up to $1,000. Driving a stock car does not require a legal driver’s license.

If history is a guidepost, celebrity traffic stops usually are nothing more than a nuisance for the parties involved and rarely translate to heavy penalties. I hope the county court system sees this as an opportunity to send a message that recklessness has its price and will not be tolerated regardless of celebrity status.

At this time NASCAR has stated the citation will not impact the driver’s racing eligibility. Joe Gibbs Racing has stated they are aware of the event and are investigating internally. I wonder what they are investigating? Maybe it’s so they can sign the officer who caught Kyle to a big fat racing contract.

In other news there are a couple of pretty big races this memorial day weekend. The Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte.