By admin | April 5, 2009
By Richard Allen
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kyle Busch did not really need enemies on Sunday during the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. There was even one occasion where the two almost found themselves in a tangled mess as they raced among a pack of cars just after a restart. While Jeff Gordon was turning in a near flawless performance on his way to victory, Earnhardt and Busch were taking steps to eliminate themselves from contention.
Earnhardt again suffered from mistakes in the pits. After a lap 205 caution, the #88 crew left a lug nut off of one of the tires. That was a mistake which forced Junior to come back to pit road a second time which in turn would force him to restart at the back of the lead lap cars.
However, the errors on that stop were not limited to the missing lug nut. As he came down the pit lane a second time he once again drove right by his pit stall, precipitating yet another trip to pit road. The crew sat seemingly unconcerned as their car drove right on by. This is a problem that has cost this team before, namely in this year’s Daytona 500.
Junior and his crew almost recovered brilliantly on a later stop. By taking only two tires they put their car at the front of the pack. However, while taking his customary high line around the track Junior drove too high and banged the wall, doing enough damage that he had to make an unscheduled stop and thus lose one lap.
Eventually, Junior finished 20th. He remained 16th in the overall Sprint Cup standings.
Kyle Busch also manufactured his own problems on Sunday. On lap 109 he appeared to become irritated with John Andretti. As the two cars exited turn 2 and sped down the backstretch, Busch veered left and into Andretti to express his displeasure. The contact resulted in a cut left rear tire for Busch’s #18 Toyota.
Busch only made matters worse by speeding on pit road during a later pit stop. Even though he was eventually able to serve the pass through penalty under caution, he was prevented from being able to race his way back onto the lead lap.
As a result of his self inflicted troubles, Busch finished 18th in the Samsung 500 which dropped him one spot in the Sprint Cup standings to 7th place.
Each of these two drivers could have had a much better result in Texas but each did themselves in by creating their own problems.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
* For a little mindless entertainment click on the link below to check out this week’s episode of my animated short series, “Racing Re-Cap: Texas”.
It seems as though serious racing reporter Mark Mustang is having trouble with his recap of the events in Texas because his co-host, Daisy Dreamboat, had too good of a weekend and wants to share it during their show.
None of the charcaters represent real people.
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