Monday, June 09, 2008

Cup effort and team should come first

What Kyle Busch did over the weekend in NASCAR's three national touring series was unprecedented. If you ask me, it should have stayed that way.

Let me say right up front that I know I don't run the 23-year-old driver's life or career. I also understand that the folks at Joe Gibbs Racing signed on off Busch driving in the Truck race Friday at Texas Motor Speedway and the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway before running in Sunday's Pocono 500 in the Sprint Cup Series.

The Gibbs folks have a lot more at stake than I do, and if they were OK with it then maybe I don't have a right not to be. But I think I do have a right to an opinion about running three races in three states in less than three days.

I'm against it.

I know Busch loves to compete, and that's a big reason he's having such a tremendous year. I also would have felt the same way I do right now if Busch had finished in the top five - or even if he had won - all three races.

If you're looking for a pattern, you could argue that since Busch finished second on Friday, 32nd on Saturday and 43rd on Sunday the"triple" wore him down. I don't know that's true.

Circumstances are different in every race and Busch came out on the wrong side of them in the Nationwide and Cup races. He may well have wrecked his primary car in practice at Pocono, started from the back of the field in a backup car and then wrecked in the race and finished last even if he hadn't run at Texas and Nashville, or even at Texas or Nashville.

I am not a proponent of a Cup driver running for the Nationwide Series title, no matter who that Cup driver is or where he is in the Cup standings. During this portion of the season, running the Nationwide and Cup races at different tracks on the same weekend requires a lot of back-and-forth travel that just seems awfully unnecessary to me.

I really have no patience with the explanation these drivers usually make, saying that they're 100 percent focused on their Cup effort. That's just untrue on the face of it. All of the logistics are worked out so the driver can leave the track where the Cup team is to go to the track where the Nationwide cars are. The effort goes into making the secondary race happen, not the first.

Busch, however, went a step further. He added a Truck race into the mix at yet a third track. Even though he had backup drivers in place at Texas and Nashville for practices and qualifying runs, Busch traveled and raced at three different places in about 48 hours.

If the order had been reversed, maybe I'd have no problem with it. If Busch had run the Cup race on Friday and then followed it up withNationwide and Truck events, that would have been different. But Busch's primary job is to compete for this year's Sprint Cup championship, and he has by any objective measure a real shot at winning that. The members of the No. 18 team are committed to that effort.

If a member of the over-the-wall crew decides to run a marathon on Saturday and then comes up a step or two slow when he comes to the track on Sunday, is that fair to the rest of the team? I don't think so, and I think the driver should be held to the same standard.

Maybe it was good for the Nationwide and Truck series to have Busch try to make it to and compete in all three races in the same weekend. I am not convinced that's true.

Ron Hornaday won the Truck race and Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide race. But in some quarters, it's a bigger deal that Busch didn't win either. How does that help those two series?

Having Busch in the Truck certainly was good for Billy Ballew's team, and I am sure Braun Racing was happy to have one of the sport's top stars in its Nationwide Series car, too. But Busch is a star primarily because of how he's performing in the JGR car in Cup races this year.

That's the team that deserves not just 100 percent of the effort Busch has left at the end of a busy weekend, but 100 percent of the talent he can bring to a race car when he's 100 percent at his best.


Unknown said...

I agree with you on this. I don't agree with the fatigue part that everyone on your radio show seems to be focusing on, but agree with your point about his focus.

If I were a crew member, what would bother me most is the running back and forth part. He's 23 so I wouldn't worry so much about energy level, but not being there working on with the team certainly would bother me.

After he wrecked his primary, I heard the Speed TV guys talk about how he was "fortunate" to get a late qualifying time for the Nationwide race so he'd be able to stay and practice the back up. If he wasn't so "fortunate" to draw late, would he have left without practicing? Sure sounds like it. THAT is sad.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree with everything. Young, but stupid. You are running for the top position in the top racing series in the US. What on earth are you thinking? I love Kenny Schrader, but I think all the racing outside the Cup hurt him in the younger years(however, I would never compare him with KY Bush, as Kenny has always been a wonderful person). Let the shrub go, as NASCAR doesn't need any more smart arses and he will self destruct eventually.

Monkeesfan said...

Nothing was to be gained by running even two of those races. Drivers should be contractually required to limit their racing to the Winston Cup end because that is what matters and that is where the focus belongs.

Monkeesfan said...

anonymous nailed it on Ken Schrader - a good short tracker but a mediocre at best Winston Cup racer; his insistence on racing short tracks every week diverted his focus from the Winston Cup end, otherwise he'd have won more than he did.

Anonymous said...

DAVID- Generally I agree with you about Kyle B's running the 3 races. It seems to me that some of his time could have been better applied at Pocono.

Monkeesfan- I think the fact that Kenny S continues to have Cup rides testifies to his being more than just a mediocre driver.

Anonymous said...

It is a good thing that the Charlotte Observer buys your opinion each week because the rest of us don't.

And until you actually run a marathon, please don't draw conclusion about something you know nothing about.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous that said "the rest of us don't agree.." Who the heck is us. Everyone in front of you agreed with the opinion. Evidently you can't read. You must be a trasher, you just surf around trashing whatever is said. This thread had some good comments, then you attempt to trash it. Loser!

FastChaz said...

It's on film folks!!

You are on target David. All one has to do is look at Kyle's interviews throughout the weekend. The proof is in his face and body language which grew increasingly weary throughout the four days of interviews. Compare Thursday's look with Sunday's. Not even close.

Anonymous said...

David, if Kyle or someone close to him admits it wore on him affected him in some way, then I'll agree.

The kid's 23. I remember those long ago days and being able to do things that make me shudder now (no sleep & partying all night).

What did he miss out on? I'm not up on how much practice time he missed or how it affected his qualifying efforts.

I do agree that I hate the Cup guys down in Busch, oops Nationwide, and in the trucks. However it definitely helps support both series and sell tickets.

Why in the world were they at 3 different tracks anyway? Logistically that seems like a nightmare. Isn't there a good bit of overlap in NASCAR for the folks running the races? Oh, wait, they squeezed a few extra $$$ out of folks, nevermind.

Anonymous said...

In retrospect, probably not a good idea for KB. With all the media coverage, his weekend looked like it was planned out by ESPN, TNT, et al, or his PR flack. I know the kid loves to race and he is only 23, but JD or Joe should have put thier foot down on this one.

Unknown said...

The moment somebody says "Winston Cup" I stop listening because they're a pretentious blowhard. If you're going to pick some arbitrary prior name and say "this is the one true name", make a case for why it should be "Winston Cup" and not "Grand National Series".

NASCAR sets the name, not you, and they're calling their product the Sprint Cup Series. If you have an opinion present it without side-note pretentiousness and misguided pedantry.

Anonymous said...

syberghost - "The moment somebody says "Winston Cup" I stop listening because they're a pretentious blowhard. If you're going to pick some arbitrary prior name and say "this is the one true name", make a case for why it should be "Winston Cup" and not "Grand National Series".

Now that's some funny stuff right there, well done syberghost!

And it goes without saying if he really wanted to be the pretentious turd he makes himself out to be he'd call it the Strictly Stock or Grand National Division, not Winston Cup.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree with you more. I think it was crazy that Kyle was permitted to run 3 races in 3 days in 3 different states. I am not and never will be a fan of Cup drivers running in the Nationwide or Truck series. The over abundance of Cup drivers in the Nationwide races on most weekends makes me wonder where the next generation of Cup drivers is gonig to come from.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an insightful blog column by Mr. Poole. Of course, if he had had the guts to post this on Thursday, I'd be much more impressed.

Listen, KB isn't going to do this every week. Heck, he might not do it again. But for trying it, he got lots of media exposure, both for his sponsors and for the different series involved.

Oh, and he gave you an idea for a really hard-hitting, no-brainer column, now that you know how it turned out.

Locke's Other Kidney said...

The over abundance of Cup drivers in the Nationwide races on most weekends makes me wonder where the next generation of Cup drivers is gonig to come from.

They're coming from open-wheel racing.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any driver should be able to run that man races in the same day. My concern is that the fatigue not only affects performance, but could endanger the other driver's. Fatigue affects judment and impairs reflexes, no matter how old you are. I am fairly convinced that Shrub's judgement is already impaired, without the fatigue.

Anonymous said...

I guess once again David spoke so the masses should stand up against Kyle B running 3 races. He was 2nd ion the CTS race, crappy in the Busch race and Cup race..

He admitted he was wrong with the 26. But not to most. Hell (95%) Of the whole locality will disagree is he burps, farts or breathes, much less come near JuneBug..

Not trashing JR, nor his boy Killer friends with both but you damn guys are so off the freaking charts...

Poole,I cant fatom to being. You "REIGN "on TR but so many people in the gargage wont even speak to you. Half the time you arent around..

Take it from a crew member I think you not with Kyle B burnt your bridge too far for the reat to carry..

Yep, dummy email acct and name.. But if you took the time you would find me

You, Marc, Daly and so many whom have never lived a DAY on the ROAD or the garage would not have a clue to the stuff you spew weekly.

You are there, but in the AC, kissing several rears and not seeing the reason those whom do speak to you..

Quite a person you sre and "have the claim to fame of being there"

Barely ever saw you out of the AC, food table or anything... You couldnt grasp our lives..

Enough said

Anonymous said...

Kurt2 - "You, Marc, Daly and so many whom have never lived a DAY on the ROAD or the garage would not have a clue to the stuff you spew weekly."

And you know this how? How much of my history do you know to make that claim? You don't know dog squat but that never stops you from making a fool of yourself with stupid statements does it?

Try this on for size "Kurt2," the reason you use a "dummy email acct and name" is because you aren't now nor ever have been a part of any NASCAR race team. It's much easier to hide that fact behind phony names and email accounts and be found out to be a charlatan.

See kurt2, I can play your childish game also, write something totally unsubstantiated, couch it in a patina of truth and use it to bludgeon you over the head with.

Trust me when I say with your track record be glad, very glad you hold the position you do. Assuming you hold it.

Monkeesfan said...

richard in nc - that Schrader is still a WC driver doesn't say anything about his qualities as such; it just says there are team owners who like him.

Kurt2, I have more of a clue about racing than you do, because unlike those drivers and crew guys who never give people the true story (and this predated Brian France's ultimatum meeting before the Michigan 400) I'm not going to sugarcoat anything. If I see something wrong I'm going to call it as such. So instead of ripping Poole or others, reexamine your own twisted views of things.

Anonymous said...

monkeesfan - "I have more of a clue about racing than you do, because unlike those drivers and crew guys who never give people the true story."

Now that's some funny sh*t simianfan! Really!

Funny in the sense you are oh sooooo quick to quote various drivers when they complain about the new car and give them all the credibility in the world.

But now... when it fits your current agenda, not so much, they are all liars and charlatans "who never give people the true story."

Monkeesfan - The poster child for what a Blog Roach is.

Monkeesfan said...

Marc, it's called telling the truth. Do you even know what that means? If you did you'd know when they;'re telling the truth and when they aren't.