Monday, March 23, 2009

"Danica" Busch wins again

What a difference a day makes for Kyle Busch. On Saturday, the new villain of NASCAR did his best Danica Patrick impression when he left his Nationwide Series car to rot on the track because mistakes by his pit crew cost him a win. About 24 hours later, he celebrated with that same crew (pictured above) in the Bristol Motor Speedway victory lane. He praised them in his post-race interviews with a few backhanded compliments.

"I told the ladies to 'Man up, get the job done on the last stop,' which they did," Busch told The Associated Press. "I'm proud of them for doing that. When the time mattered most, they got the job done."

Then he offered some advice he should probably follow.

"Those guys should hang their head for (Saturday), but then wake up the next morning rejuvenated and ready to go,” he said.

This is the same Kyle Busch who abandoned his No. 5 team at Texas in 2007 after a crash that battered his car. That’s the race where Dale Earnhardt Jr. got a little test session in his future ride after the No. 5 team couldn't find its own driver to turn a few extra laps for points. Busch was never the same after that escapade and team owner Rick Hendrick promptly fired him halfway through the season.

It seems to me that Busch is a whole lot of fun to be around when things are going well. But throw in a little bit of adversity, and he’ll fly off the handle... kinda like Danica. That’s why – despite his 2008 dream season - he didn’t win the Sprint Cup. And it’s the reason why I’m still skeptical if he’ll ever win a championship in NASCAR's top series.

The famed 28 of Yates Racing is once again shutting its garage doors. As of today, the team has failed to find a sponsor for the remainder of the season, which shouldn’t be surprising because Travis Kvapil has sputtered to 39th in the standings after making only four races.

The best finish for the team this year is 18th place at Bristol and California. The team missed the Las Vegas race because it transferred the 2008 points to Bobby Labonte and the No. 96. In hindsight, that seems like a questionable decision because Labonte likely had championship provisionals to use if all else failed (which has been happening a lot lately at Yates).

What makes the decision to ditch the No. 28 so interesting is that teammate Paul Menard is just one slot ahead of Kvapil in the standings. But there’s no way he’ll lose his ride because he brings his daddy’s sponsorship with him. Has any driver with so little talent thrived as much as Menard, and literally on the family name? It should be interesting to see what happens when the No. 98 starts missing races.

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