Kyle Busch calls for all tracks to pave over grass and ‘fix’ unprotected walls


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kyle Busch, who suffered a broken right leg and left foot in a crash in February at Daytona International Speedway, called for all tracks to pave grass beside the racing surface and “fix’’ unprotected walls.

Busch, who made the comments Saturday, ran through the grass before slamming into a concrete wall during the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona. He also cited Ryan Briscoe’s tumbling crash in the frontstretch grass during last weekend’s IndyCar race at Auto Club Speedway as another example of the need to pave grass.

“I think just we need to just take a step and pour every effort into every racetrack,’’ he said. “Fortunately, Ryan Briscoe is OK, but in reality, man, there’s no sense in grass. We nave absolutely no reason to have grass at any of these facilities. I think that needs to be one of the next biggest pushes that we can have.

“At any racetrack, if there’s a crash on the frontstretch, even here – we tend to like to crash coming to or coming out of the trioval – for us to always have avenues to go to and just kind of get away from the crash, it always makes our jobs easier or better than to have no opportunity than to center-punch the guy that we’re looking at. I think there’s still, still a lot of room to grow and get better.’’

Busch said that “a lot of the drivers would echo my statements’’ about paving grass.

Joie Chitwood, president of Daytona International Speedway, said Friday that the track paved more than 200,000 square feet of asphalt in four different locations before this weekend’s races. Grass was paved inside Turn 1 where Busch crashed in February. Grass also was paved at the exit of Turn 4 next to the skid pad near pit lane and in areas of pit in and pit out. The track also added SAFER barriers at various locations, including where Busch hit. That’s part of 54,000 linear feet of additional SAFER barriers International Speedway Corp. stated Saturday that it would add at its tracks.

Chitwood said paving more grass, though, would require government approval.

“The other element that anyone would have to do if you’re going to pave areas is work with your county or local regulations as it relates to run-off,’’ Chitwood said. “Typically, when you develop new properties, you have to build retention ponds, so when you pave something you also have to deal with water run-off, so that is an element that anyone would have to consider as they look at removing grass and putting in asphalt.’’

Busch isn’t sympathetic to that.

“I’ve never seen a car flip over because it’s gone through a puddle,’’ Busch said. “I guess that could happen, I don’t know. When a car turns around backwards and it gets to grass and it starts to lift and tumbles because it continually keeps chunked up in the grass, that’s not right.’’


COTA Xfinity starting lineup: AJ Allmendinger takes pole


AJ Allmendinger, who won this race a year ago, will start on the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas.

Allmendinger earned the pole with a lap of 92.173 mph Friday on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Xfinity starting lineup

He will be joined on the front row Sammy Smith (91.827 mph).
Ty Gibbs (91.665) will start third. Sheldon Creed (91.652) qualified fourth. Parker Kligerman (91.195) will start fifth.

Cup driver William Byron will start ninth. Byron’s time was disallowed for cutting the esses. Cole Custer, who will start 10th, didn’t make a lap in the final round of qualifying.

Cup driver Aric Almirola (91.269) qualified 13th. Truck Series racer Carson Hocevar (90.669) will start 17th. Alex Labbe (90.476) will start 23rd. He’s filling in for Josh Williams, who is serving a one-race suspension for parking his car at the start/finish line of last weekend’s race at Atlanta.

COTA Truck starting lineup: Ross Chastain wins pole


Ross Chastain will start on the pole for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Chastain earned the top starting spot in Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 91.877 mph. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (91.490 mph).

More: COTA Truck starting lineup

Ty Majeski qualified third with a lap of 91.225 mph. Rookie Nick Sanchez (90.993) will start fourth, and Christian Eckes (90.937) will complete the top five.

Alex Bowman failed to make the race. Bowman had a flat right front on his qualifying lap.

Tyler Reddick leads Cup practice at COTA


Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Cup practice at Circuit of the Americas.

Reddick, who won two road course races last season, topped the field in his 23XI Racing Toyota with a lap of 92.989 mph. Kyle Larson was next, posting a lap of 92.618 mph around the 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Cup practice results

Ross Chastain, who won this race a year ago, was third on the speed chart in practice with a lap of 92.520 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (92.498 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.461 mph).

Jordan Taylor, subbing for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, was 10th on the speed chart in practice after a lap of 92.404 mph.

Former world champion Jenson Button, driving for Rick Ware Racing, was 28th in practice with a lap of 91.759 mph. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving the Project 91 car for Trackhouse Racing, was 32nd in practice after a lap of 91.413 mph.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving in his first race for Legacy Motor Club since the Daytona 500, was 36th in practice after a lap of 91.072 mph. IndyCar driver Conor Daly was last among the 39 cars in practice with a lap of 90.095 mph.

Cup qualifying is Saturday. The series races Sunday.


Saturday COTA Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


Austin Hill, the dominant driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series through the early weeks of the season, will be looking for his first Xfinity road course win Saturday.

Hill has won three of the season’s first five races, scoring victories at Daytona, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Hill has been close in previous road course runs. He has a second at COTA, a third at Portland, a fourth at Road America and a ninth at Indianapolis.

MORE: Dr. Diandra takes a look at top Cup road course drivers

Kyle Busch and AJ Allmendinger own wins in the previous Xfinity races at COTA.

Allmendinger and three other Cup Series regulars — Aric Almirola, William Byron and Ty Gibbs — are scheduled to race in the Xfinity event.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 5:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled at 5:19 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 2 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Jordan Thiessen of Pit Boss Grills at 5 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by recording artist Payton Keller at 5:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 46 laps (156 miles) on the 3.41-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 14. Stage 2 ends at Lap 30.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 5 p.m. … NASCAR RaceDay airs at 4 p.m. on FS1. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and can be heard at …SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mainly sunny. Temperature of 82 at race time. No chance of rain.

LAST TIME: AJ Allmendinger won last March’s Xfinity race at COTA. Austin Hill was two seconds behind in second place. Cole Custer finished third.