By admin | February 11, 2013
By Richard Allen
Were getting closer! SpeedWeeks is upon us and cars will be officially hitting the track at the Daytona International Speedway in just a few short days. While new stories are bound to dominate the headlines soon, memory tells us that it was at this same time last year when Kyle Busch and Chad Knaus were making big news in NASCAR.
Kyle Busch made news in a positive way when he demonstrated some of the most remarkable driving skills seen in the sport in recent history during the running of what was then called the Bud Shootout(now the Sprint Unlimited).
On lap 48 of last year’s All-Star event, Busch’s car turned almost completely sideways after slight contact with Jimmie Johnson in turn two and drifted onto the apron. But miraculously, he was able to reign his Toyota in and keep going without even so much as bringing out a caution. That maneuver appeared to be a save the likes of which might never be seen again, only to be upstaged later.
In what proved to be the wildest incident on a night filled with wild moments, Busch was again called on to perform what seemed to be the impossible on lap 74. With drivers in the already thinned out field aggressively jockeying for position as the white flag loomed in the distance, Jeff Gordon got into the back of Busch in turn three and again sent the No. 18 car sliding toward the apron in a shower of sparks as body pieces dragged on the track surface.
This time, however, there would be a caution. While Busch was able to save his machine, others who took evasive action to avoid what they assumed would be a wildly spinning car found themselves slamming into each other. Gordon took the scariest ride of all as his car slid for what seemed like an eternity on its side before finally rolling over several times then coming to a stop.
In each of those situations mentioned above, Busch should have crashed but didn’t. I dare say that most, if not every other driver would have.
Busch ultimately went on to win the 2012 version of the Bud Shootout when he executed a perfectly timed pass on Tony Stewart as the cars raced to the checkered flag.
Another NASCAR personality in the news last year around this time was Chad Knaus. And his news was less positive than that made by Busch.
During the inspection process prior to cars making their qualifying runs for the Daytona 500, the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was found to have C-posts that did not meet the liking of NASCAR officials. The C-posts are the body parts that extend down from the top of the car to the rear quarter panels on each side.
The sanctioning body forced Knaus and his team to replace the offending parts and declared that penalties would be announced later. Eventually, NASCAR stated its intention to suspend Knaus and car chief Ron Malec for six weeks. Also, a 25 point reduction was demanded and Knaus was fined $100,000.
To put a final period on the story, those sanctions were later overturned by NASCAR’s Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook.
There will almost certainly be big stories during this year’s version of SpeedWeeks. However, it will be hard to top these two that came out of the first week of the 2012 NASCAR season.
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