Getty Images

Super Bowl could provide hint on who wins Cup title this season

1 Comment

An odd occurrence in recent years between the Super Bowl and NASCAR could provide a clue as to who wins this year’s Cup title.

Each of the past three times the New England Patriots appeared in the Super Bowl — win or lose — NASCAR crowned a first-time champion that season. Although New England lost Sunday’s Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles, if form follows, NASCAR will crown a first-time champion this season.

Consider:

In 2017, the Patriots won the Super Bowl and Martin Truex Jr. won his first Cup title.

In 2015, the Patriots won the Super Bowl and Kyle Busch won his first Cup title.

In 2012, the Patriots played in the Super Bowl (losing to the New York Giants) and Brad Keselowski won his first Cup title.

Compare New England’s Super Bowl appearances in NASCAR’s playoff era (since 2004). In four of the previous six times the Patriots were in the Super Bowl, NASCAR crowned a first-time champ. The other time it happened was in 2004 with Kurt Busch.

Of course, it didn’t work out twice. In 2005, the Patriots won the Super Bowl and Tony Stewart won his second Cup title that  year. In 2008, Patriots lost in the Super Bowl to the Giants and Jimmie Johnson won his third consecutive title.

Still four of six times in NASCAR’s playoff era, when the Patriots played in the Super Bowl, NASCAR crowned a first-time champion, provides hope for some drivers searching for their first Cup crown, including Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano.

 and on Facebook

Drivers make their Super Bowl picks

1 Comment

The Super Bowl is almost here and nearly everyone is making a prediction on Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles (6 p.m. ET on NBC with pre-game show beginning at 1 pm ET on NBC).

NASCAR drivers are no different and many have made their picks. See who they’re taking and the challenge a driver made to one team’s fans.

Chase Elliott 

“I will pull for the Patriots. I can’t say that I’m a diehard of either one of them (Elliott is an Atlanta Falcons fan), but I do think that just the Brady-Belichick era is one that we often take for granted how good that whole situation is up there, that we’re watching probably the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. I don’t think there’s a whole lot arguing that in my opinion. The guy is really good and the coaching staff he has around him has put good people in place. I would love to see their legacy continue because they’re worthy of it.

“Definitely it sucks what happened last year (New England rallying to beat Atlanta in the Super Bowl). I think that what (the Patriots) have done, I have a lot of respect how they do their jobs, how they deal with the media and how they’re leaders. I think they’re worthy of the success they have.’’

David Ragan

“If it were for money I would have to pick the Patriots just because they’re that good. I don’t like the Patriots because they win too much and I’m jealous of all the New England sports fans because I’m an Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons fan from Georgia and we don’t have many championships. I hope it’s a 0-0 tie and no one wins.’’

Brad Keselowski

“I’ve got the Eagles. They’ve got a better defense. Defense wins Super Bowls.’’

Elliott Sadler

“The Pats baby. Go Pats go. I’m a huge Patriots fan. My Super Bowl pick will be Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.’’

Ty Dillon

“Logically the Patriots. I don’t really care about either team. Definitely can’t stand the Eagles. I’m a Panthers fan through and through, born in North Carolina. It’s the only (NFL) team I care about honestly, but I’m a big sports fan. Patriots are going to win. They’re going to beat them pretty bad. I don’t really see Nick Foles coming back with another performance like he did. Unfortunately Eagles fans, I know that you’re going to hate me for this but I don’t really care for you either. I was at the Monday Night Football game that the Panthers played in Philadelphia and every single one of you fans treated me like trash so I have no love for your fan base … and I hope you lose the Super Bowl.’’

Martin Truex Jr.

“Definitely Eagles are going to win it. I said 28-17, but I don’t know. It might be higher score than that. I’m thinking 34-24.’’

Matt DiBenedetto

“My heart wants the Eagles to win just because I empathize with Nick Foles and I like the route he’s had to go and had kind of a tough journey the last few years. He had a lot of success and almost got forgotten about for a period of a few years. I empathize with that. I’ve had to go a crazy, crazy hard journey to get where I’m at in my career. So my heart lies with hoping that the Eagles win because it would be cool and it would be different. Now my brain tells me there’s no way you can bet against Tom Brady and the Patriots. That whole team has so much experience. Bill Belichick and those folks are so used to winning the Super Bowl. They’re like the Jimmie Johnsons of the NFL.’’

Denny Hamlin

“I know what the spread is but I think that the spread should be 3.5. I think the Eagles will keep it close for a very long time. I don’t know that they’ll be in the lead. I don’t know that the Patriots are going to make a last-second comeback. I think the Eagles offense is underrated. I think Nick Foles is underrated. I think their team is championship caliber. He’s good enough to run that team to be a close competitor of the Patriots even though they fall short.’’

AJ Allmendinger

“Fly Eagles Fly, 27-24 Eagles. The story of the underdog, Nick Foles, benched, backup, reborn. That’s what I love.’’

Trevor Bayne

“If I’ve got to pick one, you go with the odds, you got to go with the Patriots, right?’’

Kasey Kahne

“My pick is the Patriots, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick. They’re just so tough this time of the year. I think the Eagles will have a real good shot.’’

Paul Menard

“I’ve got to go with the Eagles. From the first time I watched this year, probably week two or three, I was impressed with their defense. Defense is what wins championships and they have a good one.’’

Clint Bowyer

“I’m pissed off at the Patriots. I’m over the Patriots. Even Jimmie Johnson gave us a breather. Give us some time to get over it and then we might root for you again. But the dude (Tom Brady) is so good. I’m not excited about the Super Bowl because he’ll win.’’

Kyle Busch

“I’ve got to go with the Eagles. They’re putting up points, man. I’m a Patriots fan, second to my No. 1 (Denver) Broncos. But if I had to choose one, I think the Eagles are pretty tough right now.’’

Cole Custer

I’m going to go with the Eagles. I don’t really have a reason. I like their helmets, I think that’s kind of cool with the wings on them.”

Austin Dillon

“Tom Brady is pretty tough to beat. The guy just keeps coming back and getting more. He’s like Jimmie Johnson. I’m racing with one of those guys that just has this desire to compete every year and to win a championship. What Tom Brady is doing is special. Tom Brady wins 21-14 over the Eagles. The Eagles have probably the best team but the Patriots have the best coach in the history of football and probably the best player in Tom Brady. Clutch moments, there’s no one who has seen more of them than Brady. It’s hard to beat him. I just think it’s Brady time again. This time of year.’’

Daniel Suarez

“I wish I could say (Carolina) Panthers, but I guess it’s going to be Patriots.”

 and on Facebook

Kyle Busch says ‘no question’ people treated differently based on how they show emotion

5 Comments

Misunderstood? Too much misbehavior? Or just envied?

Kyle Busch was asked at Wednesday’s test at New Hampshire Motor Speedway if people are treated differently depending on who they are and how they show their emotion after events.

“No question,’’ Busch said before citing New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has won a record five Super Bowls but also is as known for a surly attitude with the media. “Bill Belichick gets it differently than anybody else, but, you know, we also sometimes are more successful than others, too.’’

The latest issue comes from Busch’s brief answer in the media center to a question after finishing second to Austin Dillon in last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. After his response, Busch dropped the mic on the table. He awaited other questions but there were none and NASCAR allowed him to leave, as he fulfilled his media obligations. He had previously done interviews on pit road with network TV and radio.

Busch’s action led to a debate on Tuesday’s NASCAR America with Carolyn Manno, Parker Kligerman, Jeff Burton, Nate Ryan and Greg Biffle (in the video above).

“The bottom line is they hate to lose, and when they lose they don’t do a good job of containing themselves and giving the answer everyone expects them to give,” Burton said on NASCAR America during a discussion about Busch’s media center appearance. “And then when they do give that answer everyone expects them to give, everybody gets mad at them because they don’t show their personality. So in some cases it’s hard to win.

“It isn’t the best look for Kyle Busch. There’s no question about that. He’s not a whiner. He’s not a guy who doesn’t work hard and put everything into his career. He’s a hard worker and fierce competitor, but it’s not a good look.”

 and on Facebook

Kurt Busch ‘paced’ himself by partying with Rob Gronkowski in Daytona

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
1 Comment

Kurt Busch has a strange definition of “pacing myself.”

When it came to celebrating his Daytona 500 win in the hours after the race and with an exhaustive media tour ahead, “pacing” meant partying the night away.

And the festivities were attended by notorious party boy, New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski.

The party invite came as he and his in-laws were having a few beers on their boat.

“My phone was blowing up with Monster people,” Busch said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “They were down at Razzles and I was like, ‘Razzles, I remember that place, let’s go.’”

When Busch arrived at the Daytona night club, Gronkowski was holding court in the VIP area.

“I was there partying with Gronk and that is a cool stamp to put down to say that you did that,” Busch said. “All the top (Stewart-Haas Racing) people were there, even college grads like Mike Verlander wearing his khakis were inside Razzles having a good time. Those are the celebrations you don’t forget about. That was the pacing myself. I left there at about 3:15 or 3:30 a.m. and that is what it takes to pace yourself to make it to the breakfast event with Daytona pushing our car into the Hall of Fame museum the proper way on Monday morning.”

Now it’s back to business for Busch, who was 14th fastest in the first practice session for the Fold of Honor Quik Trip 500.

 and on Facebook

New England Patriot, ex-Boston Red Sox to play role in upcoming New Hampshire race

Leave a comment

The July 19 Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will have a distinct New England flavor.

The track has announced that pre-race ceremonies for the New Hampshire 301, which airs on NBCSN, will be led by a New England Patriot and a former Boston Red Sox.

Defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who recorded three tackles, including a sack in the Patriots’ 28-24 Super Bowl win in February, will be the honorary pace car driver, leading the 43-car field to the green flag.

“Julian (Edelman) was talking in the locker room about how much fun he had driving the pace car last (July) and he went on to have a career season,” said Ninkovich in a release.

“I thought I’d join in the fun this year. I think it’s going to be awesome to be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in front of all those people, and be a part of the race.”

But before the drivers take to the 1.058-mile track, the invocation will be led by Rico Petrocelli, a two-time American League All-Star who played for the Red Sox for 13 seasons from 1963-1976.

Petrocelli told track officials he got a taste of racing when he would drag race in the offseason, before the Red Sox caught on to it

“It is a tremendous honor to deliver the invocation prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July,” said Petrocelli in a release. “New England is a baseball region, no doubt – this is Red Sox country, after all. But it’s developed into a very knowledgeable racing region, too. I can’t wait to be a part of the show.”