NASCAR America: Summertime superlatives

Leave a comment

NASCAR lends itself to superlatives. The words “greatest”, “best” and “most” are tossed about with absolute abandon.

Sometimes, they actually apply.

With Cup off this weekend before a final 12-week stretch, NASCAR America’s Marty Snider, Jeff Burton and Landon Cassill provided their lists of drivers who deserved unparalleled praise.

Most Impressive Driver?
Kyle Busch: “This dude drove by me like 10 times Saturday night.” – Cassill
Kevin Harvick: “This award is like the best coach. … They always give it to a team they didn’t think would do well.” – Burton
Clint Bowyer: “I don’t think we expected him to have two wins at this point in the season.” – Snider

Most Hard-Luck Team?
Daniel Suarez: “Every time they get momentum going, something happens to knock it out from under them.” – Burton
Aric Almirola: “They’ve had bad fortune and in some cases they make their own luck.” – Cassill
John Hunter Nemechek: “With under two laps to go and leading: They lost two races.” – Snider

Surprise of the Season
• Chevrolet: “I’m shocked that Chevrolet hasn’t run as well as they have. … To a man, to a woman, everybody I talked to in the off-season that was involved with Chevrolet, they were like ‘we’re gonna kick their butts.” – Burton
• Hendrick Motorsports: “I did not expect this from Hendrick Motorsports, to struggle this much in 2018.” – Snider
• Superspeedway carnage: “We’ve always seen big wrecks and we always expect big wrecks on superspeedways, but all three superspeedway races we’ve had have all been complete trashed racecars.” – Cassill

Best Strategy Call
• Cole Pearn at Sonoma: “Anytime Cole Pearn makes a strategy call, I’m like ‘that was so awesome.’ “ – Cassill
• Cole Pearn at Sonoma: “Anytime you can surprise this level of crew chief … that to me is really impressive.” – Burton
• Mike Bugarewicz at Michigan: “That was a big call to get them their second win of 2018.” – Snider
Superlatives were also handed out for the wildest wreck, best overall race, funniest moment, best post-race celebration and the championship favorite.

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America Scan All: “The dude that started last hit Kyle”

Leave a comment

Short track racing is always filled with a lot of drama. That is even more so the case when one of the Big 3 spins on lap two, collects a sizeable portion of the field and then races his way back into the top five.

That incident highlights the Bristol Night Race edition of Scan All.

Here’s what the drivers and crew had to say Saturday night:

  • “We got a good car. Let’s do it. Let’s win one for the team.” – Kurt Busch on the pace lap
  • “99 came flying by. I don’t know what he was doing.” – Reed Sorenson
  • “Everybody hit Kyle. The dude that started last hit Kyle.” – Brett Griffin, Clint Bowyer’s spotter
  • “Truex ran over the splitter – the nose part.” – Kyle Busch
  • “Oh yeah, we got [expletive] damage right where the hood flap is.” Kurt Busch following his involvement in the Lap 2 wreck
  • “We’re a long way’s away from being average.” – Kyle Larson
  • “We’re faster than everyone but the 18.” – Mike Bugarewicz, Bowyer’s crew chief
  • “I’m kind of worried about that guy behind the 78 (Kyle Busch). I ain’t worried about the 78,” –Brett Griffin
  • “Holy crap; that hurt.” Truex Jr. after getting spun by Kyle Busch
  • “God. Son of a Hell. Damnit. I just misjudged by like six inches, maybe less.” – Kyle Busch

The field had plenty of opportunity to contemplate the NASCAR rule book as the No. 18 drove through the field, with Kevin Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers had the final word on the subject

  • “The 18, he can’t run like that without a bumper cover, right?” – Kyle Larson
  • “Well, I didn’t think so,” Chad Johnston, Larson’s crew chief
  • “That no bumper’s got to help, don’t you think? It helps on a street stock.” – Tab Boyd, William Byron’s spotter
  • “I thought you had to have a rear bumper cover. Is that not the case?” – Kevin Harvick
  • “I don’t think so. I think Daytona and Talladega they make you.” – Rodney Childers, Harvick’s crew chief

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America Scan All: Two sides to every story

Leave a comment

In NASCAR, there are almost always two sides to every incident. This week’s Scan All features contact between Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer, as well as Michael McDowell and Austin Dillon.

“You got a granola bar or something down there you can give me?” Clint Bowyer asked crew chief Mike Bugarewicz during the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Unfortunately, all they could find was a mini peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When Bowyer’s spotter chimed in to note that there were granola bars in the goodie bags, it left Bugarewicz wondering why he didn’t get one.

The absence of a snack bar may have been just the thing that kept Bowyer from winning because he lost his composure after losing “three [expletive] spots every time we come down pit road” a little later in the race.

Other highlights included:

  • “The 1 door slammed me.” – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • “Check the right side, the 17 turned into me on the backstretch.” – Jamie McMurray
  • “I see now. I had the wrong line. Two lines there; sorry about that.” – Brad Keselowski
  • “Yellow line to yellow line.” – Paul Wolfe, Keselowski’s crew chief
  • “I gotta know how far away he is from my door in the corner.” – Ryan Blaney
  • “Let the 43 know that I’m racing here; get the hell out of the way.” – Michael McDowell

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

NASCAR America Scan All: ‘If he wrecks everybody, he’ll win’

Leave a comment

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the center of attention last week in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. He was on the lips of most of the drivers in the field

After being involved in five incidents during the evening, Stenhouse was taken to task by many of the drivers and team members.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • “We’re all done. [Expletive] animals. I swear, nobody wants to ride; nobody wants to follow.” – Kurt Busch
  • “I’m gonna guess that was the 17. Wild guess.” – Denny Hamlin
  • “This is the only race Stenhouse can win to get himself in, so he was doing everything.” – Chris Gayle, spotter for Erik Jones
  • “What are these guys doing? The 17 hooked him too.” – Clint Bowyer
  • “The 17 has successfully wrecked half the field.” Mike Bugarewicz, Bowyer’s spotter
  • “He’s such a [expletive] idiot. What a [expletive] waste of [expletive] space.” – Kyle Busch
  • “This one was worse than the last one. He just drove into his rear and spun him out,” Cole Pearn, Martin Truex Jr.’s crew chief.
  • “Yep. If he wrecks everybody, he’ll win.” – Truex

For more, watch the video above.

NASCAR America: Five laps that define 2018

Leave a comment

With 11 races remaining until the playoffs begin, there are still 10 spots open for a driver to race his way into championship contention.

Four drivers have multiple victories. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have dominated the year. And while the last lap has not had a lot of drama every week, there have been defining moments in many of the races that deserve special attention.

Tuesday on NASCAR America, Kyle Petty, Jeff Burton, and Carolyn Manno took a look at five laps that have defined the season so far.

The list began with the final lap of the opening race of the season.

On lap 200 of the Daytona 500, Austin Dillon got into the back of Aric Almirola and spun him out of the lead. Dillon went on to win and virtually secure his spot in the playoffs.

“The way this race played out, that was the defining lap of this race for Austin Dillon,” Petty said. “It’s the defining lap of this race for Aric Almirola. … The thing for me is, that can be the defining lap of a career for Austin Dillon.”

Not all of the laps were as dramatic.

On lap 260 of the Ticket Guardian 500, with 52 laps remaining at ISM Raceway (Phoenix), Busch entered the pits with a margin of seven-tenths of a second over second. Problems with the jack on the left side of the car contributed to a slow pit stop and cost him the lead of the race. Harvick went on to score his third consecutive victory.

“The best teams use (mistakes) for motivation,” Burton said. “And they find a way to make themselves better from that bad situation.”

Busch and the team finished second in that race. They were third one week later at Auto Club Speedway and second again at Martinsville Speedway before putting together their own string of three consecutive wins.

Harvick and Busch’s rivalry would play a part in another defining lap. Harvick was forced to start at the back of the pack in the Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway when his car failed inspection.

On lap 84 after marching his way through the field, Harvick cut a tire and pounded the wall. Busch dominated the remainder of the race and won – earning a record for winning on every racetrack on which he’s competed in the Cup series.

“You don’t know what would have happened, right?” Burton said. “Kyle Busch went on to dominate that race. He was in a class by himself. What would have happened if Kevin Harvick had been there?”

On lap 140 at Pocono Raceway, Martin Truex Jr. stayed out on the track while the race leader Busch and much of the remainder of the field pitted for four fresh tires. Truex won his second race of the season and locked his team into the playoffs.

“Things that went really, really right for (Truex) last year are not going right for them this year,” Petty said. “He caught breaks at the right time last year and put themselves into position. Cole Pearn is not afraid to make a call like this: Let’s just stay out; let’s just gamble.”

Pit strategy played a part in the fifth defining lap as well.

On lap 122, with rain in the area, Clint Bowyer‘s crew chief Mike Bugarewicz gambled on two tires to gain track position. The race went back to green for four laps and Bowyer had to hold off his teammate Harvick for the win.

“(Bowyer) did an unbelievable job of putting Kevin Harvick in positions he didn’t want to be in,” Burton said. “Yeah, it rained, but he won that race. He won that race plain and simple.”

For more, watch the videos above.