Misunderstood? Too much misbehavior? Or just envied?
Kyle Busch was asked at Wednesday’s test at New Hampshire Motor Speedway if people are treated differently depending on who they are and how they show their emotion after events.
“No question,’’ Busch said before citing New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has won a record five Super Bowls but also is as known for a surly attitude with the media. “Bill Belichick gets it differently than anybody else, but, you know, we also sometimes are more successful than others, too.’’
The latest issue comes from Busch’s brief answer in the media center to a question after finishing second to Austin Dillon in last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. After his response, Busch dropped the mic on the table. He awaited other questions but there were none and NASCAR allowed him to leave, as he fulfilled his media obligations. He had previously done interviews on pit road with network TV and radio.
Busch’s action led to a debate on Tuesday’s NASCAR America with Carolyn Manno, Parker Kligerman, Jeff Burton, Nate Ryan and Greg Biffle (in the video above).
“The bottom line is they hate to lose, and when they lose they don’t do a good job of containing themselves and giving the answer everyone expects them to give,” Burton said on NASCAR America during a discussion about Busch’s media center appearance. “And then when they do give that answer everyone expects them to give, everybody gets mad at them because they don’t show their personality. So in some cases it’s hard to win.
“It isn’t the best look for Kyle Busch. There’s no question about that. He’s not a whiner. He’s not a guy who doesn’t work hard and put everything into his career. He’s a hard worker and fierce competitor, but it’s not a good look.”
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The first race of Kyle Busch‘s 2017 playoff run did not go well.
After leading 85 laps and winning the first stage, Busch’s day was plagued by consecutive miscues by his new pit crew, which had just been swapped with the one for his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez.
After pitting early in the stage because of a loose tire, the No. 18 was penalized for crew members going over the wall too soon.
Busch went two laps down and ultimately finished in 15th, one lap down.
On NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman and Kyle Busch addressed the situation Busch’s team finds itself in after one playoff race and what they should do. Both believe JGR should continue with the pit crews as is.
“Is this nerves? Here’s a team that Daniel has run sixth, seventh and eighth (with)” Petty said. “Now you’re asking them to pit for a car that’s running for the championship. The pressure ramps up. Everything’s a little more intense at the sharp end of the stick than when you’re lost in the crowd. Did that get them yesterday? It was just a mental let down. A mental mistake by the gas man to step over the wall. Over than that, I think they could’ve recovered and I think they will recover. This is one race.”
Said Kligerman: “I agree with the decision of going with the 19’s pit crew, because they used analytics. … I’m glad to seem them do that. They saw the numbers, they said ‘this team is better, let’s use them. This is what we’re going to go off of.’ But that doesn’t account for the human factor, which is that you are pitting for a different driver and drivers enter the box differently.”
Watch the video for the full discussion.
Eyebrows were raised during Sunday’s Cup Series playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway when NASCAR officials disappeared into a blue tent to test tires belonging to the teams of Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., dunking them in water.
But Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said it is a “fairly common practice” Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.”
“It’s been going on for a few years,” O’Donnell said. “It’s something we’ve done just to make sure for the competitors, everybody’s on a level playing field. It helps us with Goodyear as well to make sure the tires are legit, which we’ve always found they are.”
It’s an issue the crew chiefs for Busch and Truex are OK with.
“Usually when you’re running good, they’re going to come take them,” Cole Pearn said Sunday. “That’s fine. They’re just doing their due diligence, doing what they should be doing. No issue there.”
NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman weighed in on the story and why fans need to know about NASCAR’s practices concerning tires.
“This is something fans haven’t known about,” Petty said. “This is something maybe the guys inside that square, fenced-in area called the garage area all know about and just take for granted. But the fan … they want to know. ‘Why are you guys doing this? What’s this all about?'”
Said Kligerman: “It’s good that they’re doing this because they’re checking on the fact that teams could be trying to cheat the rules a little bit by making the airs leak out of the tires, therefore having a car on the long run that would be really fast because it would keep the right air pressure.”
Watch the above video for more.
Almost a year after Farmers Insurance announced it would cease sponsoring Kasey Kahne following the 2017 season, a report by ESPN reveals that Farmers Insurance paid Hendrick Motorsports roughly $666,000 a race to sponsor the No. 5 Chevrolet in 2017.
ESPN’s report is based on documents in a lawsuit filed by Sports Marketing Consultants related to “a dispute on the percentage of commissions owed on the deal” between Farmers Insurance and Hendrick Motorsports.
Farmers Insurance, which has sponsored Kahne for six seasons, was the primary sponsor on the No. 5 car in 12 races from 2015-17. There are three races left on the 2017 deal.
Farmers was on the No. 5 when Kahne won the Brickyard 400 in July.
Great Clips announced it would also cease sponsoring Kahne in May. A few weeks after the Brickyard win, Kahne’s only victory since 2014, Hendrick announced he would not be back in the No. 5 next season.
Farmers’ initial contract ran from 2012-14, when it sponsored the No. 5 for 22 races each season. Farmers paid Hendrick $13.5 million in 2012, $14.04 million in 2013 and $16.348 million in 2014, according to the ESPN report.
With the decrease to 12 races a year beginning in 2015, the company paid $7.6 million that season, $7.8 million in 2016 and $8 million this season.
The report also describes various performances bonuses for Hendrick in the initial three-year deal, such as winning a race ($450,000-$550,000) and the Cup championship ($1,157,895).
Read the ESPN story for more details on the contracts.
MORE: Kasey Kahne has new crew chief for rest of playoffs
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A day after opening the NASCAR Cup playoffs, Jimmie Johnson went to work helping victims of Hurricane Irma in Florida.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver traveled with one of his daughters to Naples, Florida, to work with his sponsor, Lowe’s, to help those whose lives were upended by the storm that impacted the state last week.
Johnson helped to install air conditioning units, clear away fallen trees and more in his efforts.
The trip to Florida comes after Johnson and his fellow Hendrick drivers established the Team Hendrick Disaster Relief Fund in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. With a goal of $500,000, the fund has raised just over $341,500 so far.
Below is a look at Johnson’s day in Florida.