Forward Bite: How aggressively should Kyle Busch race to be Chase eligible?


NBC Sports’ Dustin Long and Nate Ryan are back for another edition of Forward Bite where they debate various NASCAR topics and share their unvarnished (and sometimes unpopular) opinions.

Here’s their take this week … what’s yours?

Now that Kyle Busch has his victory, how conservatively should he race in the next 10 races to make the top 30 in points to be Chase eligible?

Dustin: He should race as aggressively as he always has. Don’t give me any of this garbage about taking it easy and points racing these next 10 races. One never knows when they might need an extra point. He should be aggressive in making passes for position or taking the lead to gain a bonus point. Should he make the Chase, he’s not just looking to participate. More wins equals more bonus points. Kyle should not hold back. Thinking that he has to do so is just plain wrong.

Nate: This is nuts, Dustin. Banking the victory at Sonoma absolutely should shift the focus of Busch and crew chief Adam Stevens to points racing as much as possible. That isn’t to intimate that Busch should take it easy behind the wheel, but a prudent approach must be applied to decision-making behind the wheel and atop the pit box. For the next 10 races, there is no scenario in which the potential reward of a victory would outweigh the risk of squandering a top 15 finish. Though it hardly meshes with the reckless abandon upon which he has built his brand, Busch must use discretion with every pass, and Stevens can’t take any gamble that leaves him off sequence on strategy. If they play it safe, Busch’s talent still will keep him in the top 20 of every race, which should be enough. He achieved greatness at Sonoma; now it’s time for Busch to worry about just being good.
Dustin: Look, Nate, maybe in your scenario everything is nice and wonderful with puppy dogs and Popsicles, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll make the Chase at this point. Yes, three of the last four years he’s bettered the average he likely needs to make the top 30 in points to get into the Chase, but tiptoeing around the track won’t get it done. The simple thing is to keep doing what he’s been doing. He doesn’t need to change. For a guy like Busch, it’s not just about making the Chase but winning the championship and a few extra bonus points could help him toward the endeavor. Look, he’s playing with house money – how many really thought he would have a chance to make the Chase after missing so much of the season. I say he should go for broke.

 What’s more surprising – that all four cars at Joe Gibbs Racing have won this year and all four cars at Hendrick Motorsports have not or Tony Stewart’s struggles this season?

Dustin: Tony Stewart’s woes continue to amaze me, especially with how fast teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch have been this season. Stewart hasn’t been competitive in many races. Sunday’s race at Daytona might be one of the last races he truly has a chance to win this season. Just think about that. If his team doesn’t find speed on the bigger tracks, he might be left with trying to win at the short tracks and Watkins Glen and that could be it. Who would have thought that?

Nate: Though their magnitude raises an eyebrow, Stewart’s struggles were foretold given how he has performed the past two seasons. It’s more inexplicable how Joe Gibbs Racing has managed to put more drivers in victory lane this season than Hendrick despite being at a clear disadvantage on handling and horsepower. There are only a few tracks where such deficiencies have been overcome, and JGR has maximized its opportunities at virtually all of them – Bristol (Matt Kenseth), Martinsville (Denny Hamlin) and Sonoma (Kyle Busch). Edwards’ fuel-mileage victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway is indicative of how well the organization has done at maximizing its opportunities to win, and that’s a marked turnaround from recent seasons when the team was building better cars but getting burned by a lack of quality control. With this season’s pinpoint execution, JGR has bought itself a few months to focus on preparing for the 2015 Chase and match its savvy with greater speed.

Sonoma Xfinity starting lineup: Kyle Larson wins pole


SONOMA, Calif. — Kyle Larson will start on the pole for Saturday’s inaugural Xfinity Series race at Sonoma Raceway.

Larson won the pole with an average speed of 91.393 mph around the 1.99-mile road course. Justin Allgaier joins Larson on the front row after a lap of 90.562 mph. Sheldon Creed (90.429 mph) qualified third. Aric Almirola (90.375) will start fourth. AJ Allmendinger (90.274) will start fifth.

MORE: Sonoma Xfinity starting lineup

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Larson is one of seven Cup drivers entered. The others are Almirola (starting fourth), Allmendinger (fifth), Ty Gibbs (seventh), Ross Chastain (15th), Daniel Suarez (17th) and Ty Dillon (32nd).

The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:20 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

Could Daytona International Speedway host NFL games?


The president of Daytona International Speedway says track officials plan to speak with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars about hosting the team’s games if Jacksonville’s stadium is renovated.

The Jaguars will need a temporary home site if plans go forward to renovate the team’s stadium. Daytona International Speedway has been mentioned as a possible candidate. The Jaguars released details Wednesday of what the stadium will look like after the renovation project.

Provided the project is approved by the city of Jacksonville, it is believed the Jaguars would need to find another home site for a couple of seasons while work is being done to its stadium. Daytona International Speedway is among possible sites for the Jaguars to play. More than 100,000 people saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. win this year’s Daytona 500.

“Daytona International Speedway is a world-renowned sports and entertainment venue and hosts a full schedule of events each year,” said Frank Kelleher, president of Daytona International Speedway, in a statement. “As good neighbors in the Florida sports community, DIS will be speaking with the Jacksonville Jaguars to see if we can assist them with their potential upcoming facility needs around our scheduled events.”

Daytona International Speedway hosted Soccer Fest in July 2022. An announced crowd of 7,573 fans saw the Orlando Pride and Racing Louisville play in a National Women’s Soccer League game at Daytona.

NASCAR displays counterfeit part from Chase Briscoe car


SONOMA, Calif. — NASCAR displayed the counterfeit part from Chase Briscoe‘s car on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, showing how the part did not correspond to what should have been in the car.

NASCAR found the issue at its R&D Center after last month’s Coca-Cola 600. The sanctioning body fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him for six races. NASCAR also docked Briscoe and the team 120 points and 25 playoff points for the L3 infraction.

“We want to be transparent on the penalties,” said Brad Moran, managing director of the Cup Series as he displayed the counterfeit part to media.

Moran displayed a a portion of the engine panel from Briscoe’s car. He noted the engine duct was counterfeit. He said the proper pieces are 3D printed at the R&D Center and Fiberworks Composites sells them and installs them for teams. Moran said the duct is “in the bottom of the car under the engine panel. It’s to help cool the driver. It was added prior to the first race. During testing … we realized we wanted to get heat out of the engine compartment, and that’s what this piece does.”

Moran noted that with the counterfeit part, “we can clearly see the textures are different (from the proper part).”

He displayed what officials call a gauge that determines if the duct fits the proper parameters. He showed it fitting a proper duct and not properly fitting in the counterfeit part.

“It was a part that was made, and it was made for whatever reason,” Moran said. “It was, I guess, put on by error, but it was on the vehicle. It is a piece that should not have been made in the first place, and it was spotted at our teardown at the R&D Center.”

Moran said the issue was found in a visual inspection of the part. NASCAR inspected it further and Moran said “there are certain little characteristics that are in (a proper piece)” that officials did not see in the one on Briscoe’s car. “The more we examined it, the more we realized that’s not a part they bought.”

Moran noted that while the penalties were severe, they could have been worse based on the rulebook.

“It was the low end of the L3,” Moran said. “It’s a real big hit for any team. If it continues, and we feel we are not where we need to be, unfortunately, it’s going to ramp up. We’re not going to stop.

“The deal with this car is it needs to be run without modifying. It costs teams a lot of money in development. All the owners agreed. We all agreed where we need to be to make this a successful program, and we’re not going to give up.”



Sunday Cup race at Sonoma Raceway: Start time, TV info, weather


The Cup Series heads to wine country to compete on the 1.99-mile road course at Sonoma Raceway. This race leads into the final off weekend of the season. After the break, the series races 20 consecutive weekends. NBC and USA will broadcast those races.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Adam Devine will give the command to start engines at 3:38 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:50 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:45 p.m. … Driver intros are at 3 p.m. … Earl Smith, pastor for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers, will give the invocation at 3:30 p.m. … Tiffany Woys will perform the national anthem at 3:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 110 laps (218.9 miles) on the 1.99-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 55.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. on FS1 and switches to Fox at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 69 degrees and a 1% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Daniel Suarez won his first career Cup race last year at Sonoma. Chris Buescher finished second. Michael McDowell placed third.


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Concussion-like symptoms sideline Noah Gragson

NASCAR implements safety changes after Talladega crash

Dr. Diandra: Brad Keselowski driving RFK Racing revival 

NASCAR penalizes Erik Jones, Legacy MC for L1 violation

Drivers to watch at Sonoma Raceway 

NASCAR Power Rankings: William Byron, Kyle Busch rank 1-2