Sunday, March 24, 2013

Busch Wins Amid Fontana Fireworks

Right place, right time for Kyle Busch
Prior to Sunday, Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota had never won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway. Kyle Busch changed that in dramatic fashion, coming from behind when leaders Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin crashed in the final turn to claim a spectacular victory in the Auto Club 400.

Busch dominated for much of the day, leading a race-high 176 laps. With a lap to go, however, the race seemed destined to come down to Logano and Hamlin, the former teammates turned bitter rivals who have lobbed verbal hand grenades at each other since the season began at Daytona more than a month ago.
The pair ran side-by-side into the final set of turns, until Logano drifted up the track and bounced off Hamlin’s Toyota. Hamlin crashed hard into a concrete retaining wall on the inside of the track, while Logano hit the outside wall. As they tangled, Busch sailed past on the outside, taking the checkered flag in front of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. 
“They forgot about me,” said an elated Busch afterward. “I knew they were going to. I really wanted to get by before (Logano and Hamlin) wrecked. When they both went to the bottom in Turn Four, I thought, `Oh man, this is golden. I’ve got something for them up here!’ We had a good run on the top side, and they were messing with each other so bad that they took each other down. I was just hoping I could get by before they took me with them."
Logano and Hamlin clashed again Sunday
“It’s so fun to come out and perform like this and finally win (at Auto Club Speedway). We finally got a home win for Toyota, finally got a home win for Joe (Gibbs). Joe, this one’s for you.”

"I knew the third place guy was going to win,” said Edwards afterward. “I could feel the tension between Joey and Denny.''
Logano limped his battered ford home sixth, then admitted racing Hamlin harder in the aftermath of last week’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, when his Shell Pennzoil Ford spun off Hamlin’s front bumper while contending for the win. “(It was the) reverse of last week, the opposite of what he did," said Logano. “After the way he raced me last week, that’s what he gets.”
Hamlin climbed from his demolished racer under his own power, but immediately slumped to the ground. He was immediately attended to by track safety workers and transported to the track’s Infield Care Center, where he was reported to be awake and alert.
For the second week in a row, Sunday’s fireworks did not end with the drop of the checkered flag. Former series champion Tony Stewart confronted Logano immediately after the race, upset with a blocking maneuver on the race’s final restart. A handful of punches appeared to be thrown by the drivers and their crews, and afterward, Stewart pulled no punches in criticizing Logano’s tactics.
Stewart: "I'm going to bust his ass."
“That little sonofabitch ran us clear down to the infield,” said Stewart, who faded to 22nd at the finish. “He wants to bitch about everyone else, but he’s the one who drives like a little prick. I’m going to bust his ass.”
"I was racing really hard, trying to make sure I protected my spot,” explained Logano. “I had to throw the block there. That was a race for the lead. I felt like if the 14 had gotten underneath me, that was the end of my opportunity to win the race. I was just trying to defend then spot I had. I’ll talk to him about it and see what happens.”
Busch's 25th career Sprint Cup Series victory ended a 31-race winless streak dating back to last April at Richmond International Raceway. He also completed a sweep of the Fontana weekend, after prevailing in Saturday’s Nationwide Series event.
Earnhardt’s runner-up finish came after a botched final pit stop dropped him back to 22nd place, and pushed him into the championship points lead with five races complete.


  1. Poor Tony...

  2. Anonymous8:18 PM

    I'm not a Logano fan, at all, but I can't disagree with Joey at this point from what I've seen. Although I would love to see Tony bust his ass,I feel like it is exactly what Tony would have done if the situation were reversed.

  3. Anonymous9:58 PM

    In my opinion NASCAR should absolutely boycott any track that doesn't have a safer barrier 100% installed around anything that poses a safety issue, be it the outside wall, inside wall, pit road, etc. I know it's expensive, but then again so is an early funeral. These tracks rake in millions of dollars each race they host and no team should be racing on track that's not safe when there are existing safety measures available to help lessen the inevitable.

  4. Tony complaining about 'blocking' after causing a big pile up at Daytona is pretty rich. He would have done the same thing if it had been Joey behind him on that restart.
    Sorry that Denny got hurt, but first, they need to put safer barriers everywhere. Joey didn't do anything different than Kyle Bush did to Kyle Larson last weekend.
    Damnit Dave, if the racing gets any better, I'll need a doctor. I was doing laps around the man cave on this one.
    I love this new car and I love the racing I'm seeing this year. I've never been a fan of that track but California was awesome this time. There was so much going on at the end you couldn't watch it all.

    1. I meant Talledega was where Tony caused a big wreck.

  5. Can someone remind Tony about Talledega where he took out half the field while trying to block!! Tony is obviously frustrated right now as his team seems to be a little behind with the Gen 6 car. Using Joey as an outlet for your anger is totally uncool.

  6. Anonymous1:01 AM

    Imagine the smirk on Kyle's mug during those last few laps- as denny and joey were side by side right ahead of him. Talk about the catbird seat! Bet he was thinkin, turn him! Wait no, you turn HIM! Somebody just turn somebody! Yeah! Get him joey!

    Okay maybe that's what I was thinkin on my couch..

  7. Anonymous6:57 AM

    I am not a Lagano fan, that being said I don't see where he did anything wrong on that restart, Stewart would have and has done the same thing. How quickly he forgets he wrecked half the field at Talladega last year with his failed attempt at a block on Michael Waltrip.

  8. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Stewart comes off as a hypocrite and a bully, he seems to forget the last time he blocked someone, he ended upside-down and 30 cars were wrecked.

  9. Tony isn't coming across as a bad ass. He's getting in line to challenge someone he thinks is weaker. I think back to Daytona when Smoke popped off to Robby Gordon, then quickly looked as if he may need to change his fire suit once Gordon grabbed him by the chest. He knew immediately Gordon wasn't the right guy to pick a fight with.

    Now, he comes after Joey, for driving the end of a race, having a chance at a win, the same way Tony has done in the past. He protected his position. Tony was out of line, and made some pretty personal attacks on Logano. Hopefully, he cools off and realizes that.

    For the past week, people from Chocolate Myers, to Daryl Waltrip, have been saying Joey needs to stand up for himself, because the other drivers see him as weak, and they will show him no respect until he takes it from them. This situation is getting out of hand. Its starting to look like Joey is going to have to fight everyone in the Cup series to get some respect.

    What I saw in the closing laps was hard racing. It wasn't a blatant take out move like the one Carl Edwards put on BK at Atlanta. It was hard racing. If anything, the last thing I saw was Denny trying to hook Logano's bumper and send him into the outside wall. Luckily, Joey hit the outside flat instead of head on which I'm sure is what Denny was going for. Unfortunately for Denny, he's couldn't hold it straight after that attempt, and drove himself head on into the wall.

    I don't ever want to see a guy laying on the track hurt. But these are grown ass men, and they seem to forget that NASCAR karma is a bitch. You reap what you sow. What is it going to take for Logano to get some respect? Who is going to want the next piece of him? Martinsville is coming up. I predict a fire sale on some crumpled sheet metal after that one.

    Choclate's drama-o-meter is pegged. And all the craziness aside, I thought that was the best California race I've ever seen.

  10. Great race on joeys side he should have won it and I'm a Kyle fan!

  11. Anonymous10:00 AM

    I am a Tony fan but Joey did exactly what Tony would have if the situation were reversed. Great race.

    If you want to question someone... Why after all of these years are there still "hard" walls at any Nascar tracks?

  12. Anonymous3:09 PM

    I think that I watched a great Race, and all 3 drivers who are dissapointed just want the win. What I felt with the Hamlin crash is hindsite is 20/20. It appeared to me that he tried to drive through the crash but the better idea may have been to lock it down when he was up by the wall, instead he hit the inside wall a ton and I am sure he wishes that maybe he had done that a little different. Hope he has a speedy recovery but it doesn't sound good.