The road course races at Watkins Glen this weekend were truly amazing! Being partial to seeing stock cars make both right and left hand turns, I always enjoy these races, but this weekend was really something to cheer about! Kyle Busch won the Cup race at the Glen, making his eighth win of the season, and also causing him to break yet another record by becoming the first driver in, well, ever to win three road races in a single year. (He won the Nationwide race in Mexico City and the Cup race at Infineon early this year.) He truly is becoming a road course specialist. He had a very impressive second place finish in the Nationwide race on Saturday, racing for a team he had never driven for in a car he had never sat in.
As impressive as Kyle’s weekend was, I’d like to take a break from the “Rowdy love” for a bit and talk about another driver who had quite an impressive weekend. Marcos Ambrose. He won the Nationwide race this weekend, and has more than proven that he can race with the big boys. Before people started to run out of gas, he was the only non-Cup series regular running in the top five. He is also the only Nationwide “regular” to win an event at a companion race. “Kangaroo Meat” followed up that impressive win with a third place finish in the Cup race on Sunday. Folks, I think we may have a new Cup driver on our hands, and look for him to start putting the Wood Brothers back in Victory Lane sometime next season, if not sooner!
Now, back to the man, Kyle Busch. Let me take a moment to point out that I have not just jumped on the Kyle Busch band wagon now that he’s winning everything. I have been watching this young man in a race car since he drove the #87 Ditech.com Chevrolet in what was the Busch Series five or six years ago, before he ever won a race. I followed him through his impressive battle with Martin Truex Jr. for the Busch Series championship, and was correct in my prediction that he would be the Cup Series Rookie of the Year in 2005.
In the past, his results at the road courses have been, well, not up to championship standings. Including his two wins this year, Kyle’s average finish at the road courses is only 13.8. When he won at Infineon, the broadcasters calling the race literally said “Since when is he a road racer?” I imagine a lot of people were asking that question. People also say “You can’t pass on a road course.” Don’t tell that to “Wild Thing.” At Infineon, Kyle started 32 and had no trouble making his way to the front. At the Glen, he did start on the pole, but obviously, it doesn’t matter where he starts, he will be make his way to the front!
It shows what a spectacular season this young man is having when mediocre finishes two races in a row is considered a “slump”. Kyle is getting a lot of credit for bringing the #18 team back, and he should, but it truly takes a team effort to do what he’s been doing this season. Look at the past three years, when Kyle Busch raced for Hendrick Motorsports, arguably the best team in NASCAR. In three years, he had only 4 wins. Now, look at the 18 team. They won a championship with Bobby Labonte. Once he left and was replaced by J.J. Yeley, they were less than successful. According to all reports, nothing has changed on that team since last year but the driver. Together, this team and this driver are more successful than they have ever been. If they don’t win the Sprint Cup this year, there is no justice in NASCAR.