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Goodyear refutes Kyle Busch’s account of Daytona crash, meets with driver at Atlanta

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HAMPTON, Ga. – Goodyear has refuted Kyle Busch’s claim that a flat tire caused his spin in the Daytona 500.

Busch blamed the crash on a rear tire that went flat and said, “You know, obviously Goodyear tires just aren’t very good at holding air.”

Goodyear general manager of worldwide racing Stu Grant said definitive video evidence showed that all four tires on Busch’s No. 18 Toyota were up when it began to spin.

Speaking before Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Grant said no cuts were found on Busch’s tires at the track or at Goodyear’s technical center and research facility in Akron, Ohio.

Technicians also analyzed broadcast video to determine that Busch’s right rear was up when the car spun. Goodyear contacted the NASCAR R&D Center for additional video to verify the left rear was up.

“In fact, their email back to us was it’s clear both tires were up when he spun,” Grant said of NASCAR’s response.

Busch’s left-rear tire apparently went flat in the crash after contact with Erik Jones.

So does Goodyear believe Busch just lost control?

“He felt something happen,” Grant said. “All I can tell you is it looks like both tires were up when he spun.”

Grant said he met Sunday morning with Busch at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“We had a good discussion,” Grant said, adding that things were “good between us and Joe Gibbs Racing. In terms of our analysis of the Daytona tires, (engineer) Rick Campbell was in constant communication with the JGR competition people.”

Busch took another shot Saturday at Goodyear when he lost the lead in the truck race because of a flat tire. Because the incident occurred on a restart after a yellow-flag pit stop, Grant theorized that Busch ran over debris.

“It was either flat when (it was mounted) or he ran over something on pit road,” Grant said. “We looked at it, and it didn’t have one green-flag lap on it.

“I would say it’s nearly impossible to destroy a tire on an out lap after a caution. You can’t do it that fast. These things are way more durable. I don’t believe that had anything to do with setup. He ran over something or there was some problem when (the crew) put it on.”

NASCAR America: Is there cause for concern with Jimmie Johnson’s performance thus far?

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It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.

The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.

He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.

And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?

NASCAR America: Mark Martin is definitely a Kyle Larson fan

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching  Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson involved in minor fender bender while leaving Fontana

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Kyle Larson‘s spectacular weekend at Auto Club Speedway — winning both Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup event — left him feeling good.

But shortly upon exiting the facility, Larson and several others were involved in a fender-bender right outside the Speedway. Larson was a passenger, not the driver.

No one was injured, Larson tweeted.

But somehow, isn’t that strange fate?

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson’s Fontana win shows continued maturing as a driver

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Kyle Larson finally broke his streak of three straight runner-up finishes with his win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, the crew discussed his win as well as his maturation as a driver.