Kurt Busch? – Who Knew?

Charlotte, NC (October 3rd, 2011) – After watching Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover, it’s pretty evident that anybody who tells you they know who is going to win this week’s race at Kansas – or the 2011 championship – is lying to you.

Kurt Busch? C’mon. Anyone who said they saw that coming is shining you.

Busch had a sixth in the first Chase race at Chicago but then followed it up with a dismal 22nd-place showing at New Hampshire where the wheels literally came off in pre-race tech before the event even started.

Throw in the continual discord Busch directs at his team on the radio during the races (because the media isn’t around to bully then) and any reasonable person trying to lay odds on the Chase is going to play off Busch and the Penske bunch, right?

With that as a backdrop, Busch promptly motored to the win Sunday at Dover and picked up five positions in the standings. Just like that, he’s nine points out of first and a title contender.

Who knew?

Meanwhile, we noted last week it wasn’t quite time to shovel dirt on Jimmie Johnson after two sub par finishes to open the Chase. A top car and a second-place finish at Dover was a quick cure as Johnson and picked up five spots and is back up to fifth in the standings, now only 13 points out of first.

At the top of the standings, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards are this week’s darlings after solid runs at Dover. We’re sure some wags will be telling you to put your money on them to take it all. Don’t do it. Last week, a bunch of folks were singing Tony Stewart’s songs. After two straight wins to open the Chase, Stewart was dreadful Sunday at Dover finishing 25th and falling to third in the standings, nine points out.

Talk about trying to hit a moving target.

Trying to predict this is crazy especially, considering we haven’t even talked about Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon. Those guys are sixth through ninth in the standings, Gordon the ‘worst’ of this bunch at just 19 points out of first.

If Johnson’s run at Dover proved anything, it’s that 19 points out of first place in the championship standings is nothing – especially with seven races left to run in the Chase.

It’s anybody’s race every week and the championship is impossible to predict at least for now. Kurt Busch proved that Sunday.

You Da’ Man, TR!

Busch’s win Sunday meant another trip to Victory Lane for media relations master Tom Roberts. The pride of Alabama (Roll Tide!) has been working the Cup PR trail forever – and we mean working rarely missing a race in a now nearly 30-year career.

It’s always great to see people who you have known a long time, people you admire and look up to, continue to have success. Especially the way Tom does it.

Nice win, buddy.

Way To Go Max!

Managed to have our own personal ‘milestone’ this weekend and would be remiss without throwing a shout out to my boy Max Gresham and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing team.

Max motored to a third-place finish in the Dover 150 Friday and in the process won the 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship. The effort was a culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people and there were a ton of smiles during celebration afterward.

That said, I’d like to thank Max, the Gresham family and all the folks at Joe Gibbs Racing for allowing me to be a part of it. When you’ve been in racing as long as I have, you know how special – and rare – championships are. Racing is hard. It can really mess with you when things don’t go well. It takes a special commitment to do it from everyone involved to be successful at it. At the end of the year, only one group gets to say they were the best.

It’s a great feeling when the group doing the celebrating is the one you are associated with.

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