Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Off Weekend? No Thanks...

Kenny Schrader and Tony Stewart are well known for racing anything, anytime, anywhere. Kyle Busch seems ready to follow in their well-traveled footsteps.

One day after winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series “Lenox Industrial Tools 300” at New Hampshire International Speedway, Busch was an hour or so up the road in Oxford, Maine, Monday, testing a PASS Super Late Model in preparation for the “TD Banknorth 250” on Sunday night, July 30th. Busch tested with the SP2 Motorsports team Monday, and said he is looking forward to running the midsummer classic for the second year in a row.

"I know I'll be in a car that can win the race," said Busch. "The other thing is the fans. They make it a big event, and something I want to be a part of."

A year ago, Busch qualified for the “TD Banknorth 250” by finishing second in a consolation race. He then electrified the crowd with a thrilling run from 28th to the lead in just 77 laps. He didn’t win – finishing sixth behind SP Motorsports teammate and resident Maine racing legend Mike Rowe – but his effort was one of the highlights of the night. Rowe, SP2 co-owner Steve Perry and crewchief Seth Holbrook were all at OPS Monday, hoping to see Busch do even better this time around, with Perry promising, “He's going to be a contender again.”

“Why,” you might ask, “would a busy guy like Shrub give up an off-Sunday to compete in a short track race?”

Good question.

NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series hasn’t had a weekend off since Easter, and after next weekend’s hiatus, it’s balls-to-the-wall until the end of the 2006 campaign at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Add-in a busy schedule of Busch Series racing, and personal commitments like Big Brother Kurt’s upcoming wedding, and you’ve got a schedule that virtually screams for a little “down time.”

Instead, Kyle’s going to Oxford, along with fellow Nextel Cup contenders Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley, and Maine native (and former “TD Banknorth 250” winner) Ricky Craven. He’ll serve as Best Man at Kurt’s wedding on Thursday, fly to Gateway International Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, for Saturday’s Busch Series race, then “try to get some sleep and be (at Oxford) in time to practice Sunday morning at 8 o'clock.”

Simply put, the boy’s a racer.

The way I see it, if Kyle Busch is willing to put forth that kind of effort, the least I can do is be there to see it. I missed very few “TD Banknorth 250s” in my youth, and manned the public address microphone for more than a few. I haven’t made it back to The Plains in a few years, but like Shrub, I’ll be there next weekend to watch childhood heroes like Mike Rowe and Dave Dion take part in one of the most prestigious short track events anywhere on the planet. I’ll even be there for Saturday night’s American-Canadian Tour Late Model race.

I’m not quite Kyle Busch, and I’m certainly no Schrader or Stewart. But a week off?

No thanks. I’m going racing.

4 comments:

  1. Dave,
    Hope you have a good time watching the shrub grow into a full size bush.
    We are going to miss you next week and I can't figure why you would leave the show in the hands of two varmits like Marty and the Q. Remember Wally Pipp. Well, we, the faithful listeners will keep an ear out for trouble and you have a good time.

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  2. For almost a decade, rules have not been an issue at the 250.

    I can guarantee that will all change this year!!!

    In a way it’s deja vu all over again. When everything is said and done, all the bickering and fighting over 2bbl engines vs 4bbl engines could rival all of the best rule flaps from the late 70's - early 80's era.

    I don’t know who is going to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the biggest story is not who won, but what they have under the hood of their car.

    That and the goop they have put in the 2nd lane to promote more passing should provide plenty of story lines.

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  3. Anonymous9:09 AM

    the track bite goop works awsome it should actually be a race again instead of a single file freight train. But i still think the act race will be better then the 250 with the way they are running this year, but the 250 heats should be just as good as the act race.

    also... welcome back to ops

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  4. Dave,

    Glad to see you coming back to Oxford! Andy's comments about the rules bickering definitely brings back the memories of Lindley and his NASCAR sportsman car complaining about McCabe's NASCAR North car while McCabe complained about Junior Hanley's Camaro and Junior saying that Mike Rowe's saturday night car had too much weight advantage (circa, 1982!) Be ready to hear all of the whining and then seeing all of those complainers go out and just put on a show!

    The amazing thing about those "freight train races" in 2003 and 2004...in one of them, three cars were within a car length of each other at the finish line and in the other, poor Alan Wilson's car succumbed to an oil lead with 11 to go. Pretty dramatic for boring races!

    Welcome back again...will we hear your voice over the PA this weekend??

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