By admin | August 30, 2009
By Richard Allen
Up to this point last season Kyle Busch looked like a sure bet to win the Sprint Cup championship. He had won eight races and had a commanding lead in the standings. However, something happened from this point in the season which caused his season to go off track.
During that 24th race in Bristol, Carl Edwards bumped Busch out of the way and went on to win the Sharpie 500. Busch was obviously aggravated and let Edwards know it with a post race retaliatory bump. From that point, Busch seemed to lose his winning rhythm. Whether the incident at Bristol had anything to do with Buschâ€™s later demise is doubtful, but it did mark the point at which Buschâ€™s season started to go wrong.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup season has completed 24 races thus far. After last yearâ€™s 24th race, the series moved to Fontana, California for the Labor Day weekend. In that race Busch finished a very respectable 7th. However, from that point on, the driver of car #18 would not have many more respectable finishes. Besides, prior to that point in the season Busch was not really about respectable finishes. He seemed to either run in the top-3 or have poor results.
After California, Busch began a string of five straight races in which he finished 15th or worse, including one 43rd place run in Dover. The major problem with those five consecutive runs was that they served to essentially eliminate Busch from championship contention.
This year, Busch may have already had his string of bad luck. Unfortunately for him, that string may have come at a time which will prevent him from even having a shot at the Sprint Cup title.
However, if Busch does indeed have his bad run of races behind him, as last weekâ€™s Bristol win may indicate, then he may be able to work his way into the Chase for the Championship just in the nick of time.
And more, if Busch does make the Chase, he will go in with at least 40 bonus points. That would possibly put him at least tied for the lead of the standings after the Richmond race. This fact reveals either the beauty or the folly of the Chase system, depending on your point of view.
Should Busch go on the type of top-3 run he is capable of, he could actually run away with the points lead and the championship. However, if he should start the same type of streak he began just after this time last year, he need not worry about where to put the championship trophy.
Maybe the ‘new and improved’ Kyle Busch of the last few days will have new and improved results over the next few weeks.
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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