NASCAR America: Kyle Busch needs to be aware of Martin Truex Jr. at Brickyard (video)

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Kyle Busch is well aware of his wins drought, not having won in his last 36 Cup starts.

But he also gains confidence and optimism from having won the last two Brickyard 400s.

So how will that impact the weekend?

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Dale Jarrett said Indy “plays into Busch’s hand,” but also to look out for Martin Truex Jr.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch looks to three-peat at the Brickyard (video)

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Kyle Busch is faced with somewhat of a conundrum in Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

On the positive, he’s won the last two editions of the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

On the negative, he hasn’t won a NASCAR Cup race since last year’s Brickyard triumph.

Can Busch become one of the few drivers in NASCAR history to win the same race three consecutive times?

Check out the video above.

 

Kyle Busch had a ride for Indianapolis 500 but wasn’t allowed to do it

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INDIANAPOLIS — Kyle Busch said he had a deal in place to run in this year’s Indianapolis 500 before he was denied by “a boss that said no.’’

“I had it done … sold and everything, ready to go and I’ve got a boss that said no,’’ Busch said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, referencing Cup car owner Joe Gibbs.

“I thought I had a great opportunity,” Busch said. “I’m kind glad it didn’t come together because (Fernando) Alonso kind of stole the headlines. There may be more in the future of guys coming over to run that race. I may have to split the limelight, if you will, with somebody else that wants to do that race.’’

Alonso skipped Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix to compete in this year’s Indianapolis 500. Alonso won rookie of the year honors for the 500.

Busch still would like to run the race.

“It would be a unique opportunity,’’ he said.“I think the biggest thing that scares my boss is that I’ve never driven those cars. A Cup car, or an Xfinity car, a truck or something like that, I know what to feel. When something bad starts to happen, I can straighten it out, or normally I can try to fix it. So I think that’s probably the biggest fear is just not knowing what those cars do when you get in a bad situation.’’

The only drivers to run in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day are: John Andretti (1994), Tony Stewart (1999, 2001 ), Robby Gordon (2000 and 2002-04) and Kurt Busch (2014).

Kurt Busch was selected rookie of the year for the 2014 race.

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NASCAR may further reduce how many Xfinity races Cup drivers can compete

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INDIANAPOLIS — NASCAR has talked with Xfinity teams about further limiting Cup drivers in Xfinity races, series managing director Wayne Auton said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

One possibility would be for Cup drivers to be limited to five Xfinity races only regardless of their experience level, which could be a significant cut for some drivers.

Currently, drivers with more than five full-time seasons in Cup are limited to 10 Xfinity races. They also cannot compete in the four Dash 4 Cash races and the final eight races of the season.

Drivers with less than five full-time Cup seasons — Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez for example — are allowed to compete in the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash races and all playoff events except the season finale in Miami.

The rule has had a limited impact with the results. Cup drivers have won 13 of 17 Xfinity races this season, heading into Saturday’s event at Indianapolis. Even with fewer Cup drivers in the Dash 4 Cash races, Cup competitors still won three of those four events.

“We have been in talks with teams about even limiting the number of races more or stay where we’re at,” Auton said. “Those conversations are ongoing. Stay tuned. I think some announcements will be coming out here pretty soon on what the garage area has asked us to look at.’’

With the current rules, 14 of the 17 Xfinity races have had at least three Cup drivers finish in the top five. The exceptions were Iowa (standalone race), Daytona (few Cup drivers competed) and Phoenix (a Dash 4 Cash race).

“We want to make sure that we have 40 cars on the racetrack every week and we have 40 competitive cars on the racetrack every week,’’ Auton said. “I’m very proud of the way our Xfinity drivers have held up this year. Have they won as many races as the other series drivers? No, they haven’t, but I’m going to tell you what, you can’t go from a lack of effort. They’re really driving their cars really hard this year to make sure they get that championship at Homestead.’’

Kyle Busch is against the rule and reiterated his disappointment Friday at Indianapolis when asked about how he plans to stop racing in the Xfinity Series after he accumulates 100 wins (he has 89).

“Nothing came into the thought of it,” Busch said. “Joe (Gibbs) and I, we’ve always been joking for the last two or three years they’re going to kick us out and they are. They’re trying year by year and race by race of eliminating myself from competition in the Xfinity Series.’’

Asked what NASCAR does not understand in the debate and why he should be able to race as often as he wants in the Xfinity Series, Busch said: “I don’t think that’s a battle that I’ll ever win, so I’m best off keeping my mouth shut.’’

Kevin Harvick also has issues with further reducing the number of Xfinity races for Cup drivers. He notes such a change could impact teams financially. 

“I think that’s the one thing that a lot of people forget,’’ Harvick said on his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show. “They want to take this Xfinity Series and they want to make it into Xfinity drivers only. Well, guess what? If you don’t race against the Cup guys and you don’t have that experience on a weekly basis of learning what those Cup guys are doing to run fast and how this sport works, all that is going to happen is you’re just going to struggle longer when you get to Cup. You’re not going to have all the tendencies of the things that you need just racing against Xfintiy drivers that don’t have all the experience that Cup guys get.

“And oh by the way. Those Xfinity sponsorships? Most of those sponsorships are tied to a Cup guy. If they dropped these races to five races like they’re talking to next year, we’ll have to cut two races. There’s probably a million dollars tied to those two races in sponsoring the race, associates on the Cup car, personal services contracts, so there is a lot of money on the line.

“So when you look at a Ryan Preece gets to run a Joe Gibbs car (as he did at New Hampshire last week, finishing second), he got that opportunity because they want to run that car full-time and obviously they’re getting enough money from the races that Denny Hamlin runs and Erik Jones runs and Kyle Busch runs to charge the top dollar.

“When you have a guy in it — and this is from a team owner standpoint when DeLana and I used to have the teams — when you have that top-dollar guy and you can charge $200,000 a race for sponsorship, you can take a chance on the non-companion races or the races you haven’t sold of selling a guy a race for $100,000 or $125,000. Those are where the opportunities come from.

“I just think we need to be very, very careful about cutting all the Cup ties to the series out of the (Xfinity) Series because there is a lot of sponsorship that really probably won’t show up until you get two, three or four years down the road, when these sponsors say, ‘Well, if I can’t have Kyle (Busch) in the car, I’ll put the money in the Cup car. We’ll just use the Cup car and that will be it because that is what will happen because the price point is becoming increasingly closer as we go through the years from one series to another.’’

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This weekend’s NASCAR racing schedule at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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NASCAR returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend with Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 and Sunday’s main event, the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400.

The legendary 2.5-mile oval has played host to the Monster Energy Cup Series since 1994 and the Xfinity Series since 2012.

As NASCAR returns to the home of the Indianapolis 500, there’s a bit of an anomaly to consider.

Kyle Busch comes into this weekend seeking his first NASCAR Cup win since his triumph in last year’s Brickyard 400.

But wait, there’s more:

* Busch actually has won the last two Brickyard 400s.

* Busch also has won the last two Xfinity Series races – and three of the last four – at IMS.

* That means Busch comes into this weekend riding a four-race winning streak at Indy.

* Busch has also won the last two Xfinity races on the 2017 season schedule (Kentucky two weeks ago and last Saturday at New Hampshire).

Here’s the weekend schedule at IMS:

(All times Eastern)

FRIDAY, JULY 21

9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1 – 1:55 p.m. – First Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

3 – 3:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

SATURDAY, JULY 22

6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

9 – 9:55 a.m. – Cup first practice (CNBC)

9 a.m. – Xfinity garage open

11 – 11:55 a.m.—Final Cup practice (CNBC)

12:45 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying (single vehicle/two rounds) (NBCSN)

2:15 p.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

3 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3:30 p.m. – Lilly Diabetes 250 Xfinity race (100 laps, 250 miles) (NBCSN, IMS Radio/PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:15 p.m. – Cup qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (NBCSN, IMS Radio/PRN)

SUNDAY, JULY 23

9 a.m. – Cup garage open

12:30 p.m. – Driver/crew chief meeting

1:50 p.m. – Cup driver introductions

2:30 p.m. – Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 (160 laps, 400 miles) (NBC, IMS Radio/ PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

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