The NASCAR America crew on Wednesday’s “Motormouths” edition gave fans an education, so to speak.
When host Marty Snider asked “what’s your biggest takeaway in the first seven races of the year,” analysts Kyle Petty and A.J. Allmendinger broke things down on what has stood out the most to them through the first one-fifth of the NASCAR Cup season.
First, here’s what Petty had to say:
“My takeaway this past week is optimism. I think that finally the package is coming into its own at a decent racetrack where we can see it really work. I didn’t see it at Atlanta, didn’t see it at Phoenix, you heard drivers complain about what it was doing, and we didn’t see what we thought we were going to see.
“My biggest takeaway is there’s two organizations (Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske) that are just kicking everybody’s rear end, and there are some teams that have not risen to the occasion that I really thought would be in the mix right now, like the Hendrick organization. I think they did show up (at Texas), but I didn’t see them show up in the first six races – I’ll say Chase showed up at Martinsville.
“They obviously took the first four to five races and said they have to do something, they have to revamp, and that shows the power of Hendrick Motorsports. You know how hard it is, when you start a season behind, you don’t catch up until you go to the next season a lot of times. An organization like Hendrick can be behind and catch up quick.”
Next, it was Allmendinger’s turn. And his admitted “shocker,” to no one’s surprise, was not a shocker at all:
“This may not be a shocker to anybody, but Kyle Busch can pretty much drive anything in any type of package. I know Denny Hamlin won this weekend and he won at Daytona, and some of it was Kyle’s mistake like hitting the fence in traffic, but if that didn’t happen he’s still probably going to win the race.
“It’s just crazy to me how good the guy is at figuring out and that 18 team as a whole, no matter what they give us, meaning NASCAR, that they’re going to go out and figure out how to make him fastest and Kyle Busch, more often than not, is going to figure out how to drive it better than anybody else – and he’s doing that.”
Petty wrapped up the back-and-forth by echoing Allmendinger’s take on Busch:
“Kyle Busch is in a position where he can look back on a year and say there’s three that I just messed up, where most drivers look at the end of the year and say there’s three that I only had a shot to win. He has a shot legitimately to win every single week we go to the racetrack so far.”