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Busch “Mulligans” everyone back into the Chase

By admin | September 14, 2008

By Richard Allen


Going into to today’s Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway it looked as if Kyle Busch had a chance to eliminate much of the competition from Chase for the Championship contention.

Starting from the pole due to the rain out of qualifying Busch had the opportunity to get out front early, lead laps, use the best pit stall to his advantage to effectively bury some of the Top 12 in a hole they would not be able to dig out of. Instead, just the opposite happened. Rather than being buried, the competition bypassed Busch and left him looking up out of a hole.

A broken sway bar mount was the culprit that caused the regular season points leader’s troubles. Busch led the very early laps of the race but his car began to lose pace and fall back through the field. Obviously, something was not right as the car leaned excessively going through the turns.

After a competition caution on lap 35, the Joe Gibbs Racing team diagnosed the problem. However, in the midst of their attempts to repair the car, Busch was penalized one lap for passing illegally under caution. The Steve Addington led crew was unable to repair the sway bar under that caution and the situation only got worse for Busch.

The #18 car spun just after lap 80 and was subsequently hit by the sliding car of Jamie McMurray. After an extended time off the track for repairs, Busch re-entered the race several laps down and mired deep in the run down.

Ultimately, Busch wound up twelve laps down in 34th place. The finish dropped him from the lead of the points standings to the 8th spot. He is currently 74 points behind co-leaders Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson.

Last week, I wrote a column in which I stated that because of the big lead he had going in, Kyle Busch had essentially removed the ability to take a “Mulligan”, or a do over, away from most of the competition. By taking his Mulligan so early in the Chase, he has instead allowed everyone back into the Chase, and then some.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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