Kurt Busch’s seventh speeding penalty of the season could have
sunk his title hopes in the first Chase for the Sprint Cup
He clearly had a top-10 car when he headed to pit road early in
Sunday’s race at Chicago, and that speeding penalty assessed on Lap
80 dropped him to 35th in the field.
It also made him pretty angry, since Busch was convinced he was
”Chicago was a bogus thing in my mind,” Busch said.
”My tach was green all the way down pit road,” he added.
”There’s times when it might flicker red and then you hold your
breath to see if you’re going to get by the police, in a sense.
Chicago was all green, never expected to be called in, and we
It was still bugging him when the race stopped for rain 30 laps
later and Busch grumbled about it as he drove his Furniture Row
Racing Chevrolet down pit road. But he had a five-plus hour rain
delay to get over it, and did, rallying to an astonishing
Busch heads into Sunday’s race at New Hampshire tied for fifth
in the Chase standings, 23 points behind leader Matt Kenseth. The
speeding penalties are a concern, and Busch conceded his team needs
to be careful the remaining nine races.
”We’re setting our pit road tachometer too aggressively and too
close to the margin, so we just have to be more conservative,” he
said. ”The thing that has to be clear internally with Furniture
Row Racing is that the guy setting the tach isn’t going
conservative on his own, and then I’m going doubly conservative to
make sure we’re not too conservative once we’re out performing,
because we have to perform in this Chase.
”We can’t lose spots on pit road with slow pit stops and we
can’t lose spots on pit road driving too slow in a speed
ENGINE WOES?: Matt Kenseth goes into Round 2 of the Chase for
the Sprint Cup championship with an eight point lead over Joe Gibbs
Racing teammate Kyle Busch.
With five-time champion Jimmie Johnson lurking right behind them
– he’s just 11 points out of the lead – neither can breathe
Their own equipment may be cause for some sleepless nights. JGR
teammate Denny Hamlin suffered an engine failure late in Sunday
night’s race at Chicago, and Brian Vickers also had an issue,
giving manufacturer Toyota two engine failures in the same
”It’s always a concern breaking any kind of parts, having any
kind of failure, anything that’s going to take you out of a good
finish when you’re trying to race for a championship and stay in
contention,” said Kenseth, who will make his 500th career Sprint
Cup start on Sunday. ”There’s not a lot we can do about it. You
try to get all the information you can, try to control all the
things you can, try to be easy on any parts or pieces that could
”Certainly engines are one of the most critical pieces, and
they take a lot of abuse. I guess you maybe always worry about that
a little bit.”
Toyota also had issues three races ago at Atlanta, where four
engines had problems. Hamlin suffered two engine failures that
weekend – one in Saturday practice, one in the race, Vickers lost
an engine on Friday, and Clint Bowyer’s failed while leading in the
”I’m not sure about Atlanta. I know we were trying some new
stuff there, something for next season, something to use later in
the Chase. I know there was a little bit of experimenting in
Atlanta,” Kenseth said.
”When you get to the race track, you can’t do a lot about it so
you concentrate on the things you can control and try to help that
as much as you can and go from there.”
RIDE FOR CANCER RESEARCH: IndyCar Series champion Ryan
Hunter-Reay will participate in the annual Dolphins Cycling
Challenge as part of Team AutoNation to support cancer
The two-day cycling ride Nov. 2-3 is a collaborative effort
between the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami Miller
School of Medicine, with 100 percent of rider-raised funds going
directly to cancer research at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer
Hunter-Reay lost his mother to colon cancer in 2010 and has been
committed to raising funds for cancer research through Racing for
Cancer, which he co-founded. AutoNation is a presenting sponsor of
Racing for Cancer.
”Nearly one-third of cancer is said to be preventable and with
early detection, many more cancers can be caught in their early
stages saving lives,” said Hunter-Reay. ”Our goal is to create an
awareness of the importance of getting tested.”
BILL FRANCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Frank Kimmel is the winner of the Bill
France 4 Crown Championship following his third-place finish in the
ARCA Racing Series’ event at Salem Speedway.
The Bill France 4 Crown is a miniseries within the ARCA season
that challenges drivers on four different types of courses. This
season’s 4-Crown schedule included a superspeedway event at
Michigan International Speedway, a road course at New Jersey
Motorsports Park, a mile dirt oval at Springfield and a short track
Kimmel’s showing Saturday at Salem gave him his sixth Bill
”I’ve always put that pretty high on the list,” he said.
”First of all the namesake of the thing, Bill France, that’s a big
deal and pretty awesome he’s part of that thing. It’s such a
diverse set of tracks.”