Lost Season May Have Prevented Even More Wins

Charlotte, NC (July 18th, 2011) – In an era where earning a single NASCAR win in any of the top three divisions of the sport – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck – is a true accomplishment, we took great interest in Kyle Busch notching his 100th career NASCAR victory this past weekend.

In case you missed it, Busch won Saturday’s Nationwide race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway putting him at the century mark in career NASCAR victories. Busch scored Nationwide win No. 49 Saturday which also tied him for first all time with Mark Martin for victories in that divisions. Another 22 Cup trophies and 29 in the Truck Series pushed Busch’s total win mark to 100 – all coming in less than 10 seasons.

The funny thing is that those numbers would likely be even greater if Busch had been allowed to compete in any of NASCAR’s top divisions in 2002.

Busch hardly looked like the guy who would set the NASCAR record book on fire in 2001 when he posted a 19.2 finishing average in six Truck Series events. Later that year at California Speedway, Busch was asked to leave the garage area when it was determined his participation somehow conflicted with the tobacco industry’s sponsorship of the companion Indy Car race there that weekend.

Evidently, smokes and 16-year-old drivers didn’t go together, so Busch – and every other young driver – were exiled from NASCAR until they turned 18.

Busch spent the 2002 season in the American Speed Association before returning to NASCAR in 2003 posting two top-five finishes in seven NASCAR Nationwide events. A year later in 2004, he crushed the Nationwide competition scoring five wins and 16 top-10 finishes in 34 races.

He hasn’t stopped winning since.

Like or dislike him, Busch is one of the most unique driving talents to hit the track in the history of NASCAR. His win record is an impressive one even if the stats are slightly incorrect.

In reality, Saturday’s win was actually No. 101 for Busch as he also scored a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory in 2009.

Whatever Busch’s total number of NASCAR wins is, at age 26, you can be sure he is far from over when it comes to winning NASCAR races. That’s pretty much a given and that’s saying something when a lot of great teams and drivers – like Sunday’s Cup winner Ryan Newman – are struggling to earn just one checkered flag.

Kudos To Gappens

We ran into old friend Jerry Gappens at New Hampshire this past weekend. Gappens, a long-time lieutenant in the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. family, was handed the reigns at NHMS a couple of years ago and has – based on what we saw this weekend – done a great job with the place.

The team of people Gappens has assembled is top notch. I can’t think of a track where you feel more welcome than at New Hampshire. Everyone from the parking attendants to the top brass greet you with a smile. No request is too small or large.

Of course, there was a lot to smile about this weekend. Large crowds, perfect weather, and four divisions of NASCAR racing will produce that. Still, it takes a ton of work to pull that off even under the best of conditions and Gappens and his team did that flawlessly this past weekend.

Given SMI took a beating – and rightfully so – a couple of weeks ago after the Kentucky traffic debacle, it’s also appropriate to tip your hat to them when they pull off a great racing event like they did this past weekend.

Awesome job, Jerry. Thanks to you and everyone at NHMS for an incredible weekend.

Victory Lane

We can’t sign this off without tip of the cap to Max Gresham and Joe Gibbs Racing.

It is our good fortune to be associated with both this season racing with them in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Gresham is a great, young talent and proved it again at New Hampshire winning the pole for the New England 125. He then captured the checkered flag with a stirring drive, coming from the back after a botched pit stop communication put him 26th in the running order just past the halfway point of the race.

There’s nothing like going to Victory Lane and at this stage of our career, the wins seem to mean more than ever before. Winning at anything never gets old and the older you get, the more fun it seems to be.

That said, keep the wins coming Max – we’re having a ball this season.

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