By Rich Phillips
It’s taken less than two months for Kyle Busch to show us he will be a serious player in the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup. After missing the season’s first eleven races with a broken leg and foot suffered at Daytona, Busch had a slow start. But ever since a late June run on the road course at Sonoma he’s been the hottest driver in NASCAR, and shows no signs of slowing down ahead of the AAA Texas 500 on November 8.
Busch started his streak with an unexpected win in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. It started a run we haven’t seen in nearly a decade, winning four-of-five races including three in a row. It tied him for the season lead in wins and satisfied NASCAR’s first requirement for Busch to make the Chase.
Next, Busch had to climb to the top 30 in points, a tall task after missing nearly one-third of the season. But in just eleven races he has done just that, cracking the top 30 after a second place finish at the other Sprint Cup road course, Watkins Glen. He must stay in the top 30 to gain a Chase spot, but with an average finish of 13th it shouldn’t be a problem.
Having Kyle Busch in the Chase is exactly what NASCAR needs. He’s certainly not the most popular driver and for many is the most hated. But that’s a good thing, having a nemesis for your favorite driver. Every pro wrestling match has a heel that the crowd hates. NASCAR can benefit in the same way. No Dale Jr. or Jimmie Johnson fan wants to see Kyle Busch bowing to them at Texas Motor Speedway in November.
Now there’s no guarantee that Busch will still be alive in the Chase come November. There are two rounds of eliminations before race number eight in the Chase. However, Busch has never looked more focused than he does this season. Having his career nearly taken from him with February’s crash, and having a baby in May seem to have grounded the driver they call “Rowdy”.
Whether he’s a championship contender or not we know that Kyle Busch will be a contender on the track in three months at Texas Motor Speedway. His history here is remarkable with eleven wins, including a record seven in the XFINITY Series. He swept the April weekend in 2013 and took a shot at sweeping the November triple-header in 2014, winning in the Trucks and the XFINITY Series. Love him or hate him, be prepared to make some noise either way for Kyle Busch in the AAA Texas 500 on November 8.
Rich Phillips is the host and producer of the weekly radio show Texas Motor Speedway’s Total Access. Click here to find a station near you.
We’re at summer’s halfway mark which means we’re a little more than two months away from the return of the world’s fastest motorsport series at TMS. The seventh stop of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship flies into town the weekend of September 26-27 and tickets are still available starting at just $29.
Weren’t able to make it last year? Even if you did, let us give you 10 reasons to stop by again this year.
1. SPEED- Witness the world’s best race pilots as they navigate a low-level aerial track made up of air-filled pylons 80 feet high at speeds of up to 230 mph.
2. MEET THE PILOTS- Get an up close look at the pilots, planes and crews to see all the work that goes on during race day. Tickets with hangar viewing from the lawn start at $39 for the day, $59 for the weekend.
3. FEEL WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FLY- Experience Red Bull Air Race from inside the cockpit with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Kiosks will be set up in the consumer activation area outside of TMS on Saturday and Sunday.
4. SEE A HELICOPTER FLY UPSIDE DOWN- We’re not sure how he does it, but stunt helicopter pilot Chuck Aaron will be on hand to put on a gravity defying exhibition full of backflips, 360-degree rolls, and a heart stopping tumble called the “Chuckcilvak”.
5. ROOT FOR KIBRY- Kirby Chambliss will be looking for Texas-sized support as the Corpus Christi native tries to top the podium in his home state.
6. KIDS 12 AND UNDER GET IN FREE- Red Bull Air Race is officially a family affair with children 12 and under able to enter for free (max two children per adult).
7. GET CLASSY- Watch the race from the Sky Lounge, an elite hospitality area offering the finest possible race experience including premium grandstand seating, international cuisine, complimentary bar, as well as high-quality video screens and sound system so you don’t miss any of the action.
8. PHOTO FINISH- Right now only five points separate the top three pilots in the season standings. The Fort Worth stop will go a long way in determining who will be crowned champion at the final race of the championship in Las Vegas.
9. THE PLANES, THE PLANES! - It’s not every day you get to see Zivko Edge 540s, MXS-Rs and Corvus Racer 540s up close and personal, a real treat for aviation nuts and gearheads alike.
10. PYLON POPPING ACTION - There’s nothing quite like seeing the wing of a plane slice through the Red Bull Air Race specially designed inflatable pylons at rapid speeds.
In Start and Park Episode 21, things took a Dr. Suess like turn when discussing Danica's run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway... We'd like to thank the writers of Start and Park for this gem.
I do not like the set-up for this race. I do not like twenty-second place.
I do not like it here or there. I'm in the back and that's just not fair!
Would you like it in the Glen?
Would you like it at Michigan?
I would not like it in the Glen.
I do not want it in Mich-i-gan.
I do not like it worth a d*mn.
I do not like it DAN-I-AM.
I do not like this car of mine. Especially with Dale right behind.
And I do not like the pre-race singer. I'm not afraid to flip the finger.
Could you, would you, add some wedge? My driving skills are at the edge.
I do not like the aero here. I wish I weren't in the rear.
My engine keeps on running hotter. Can I blow up and blame the spotter?
My engine is about to croak. But yet, I'm still ahead of Smoke.
No, I will not like this car today. And I will b*tch about it till you go gray.
No, I do not like it Dan the man. I wish I had Ray Ever-Ham.
Greatness, right? Be sure to catch the latest episodes of Start & Park on the official Texas Motor Speedway APP!