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FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne Talk Tall Texas Win

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIINovember 7, 2011

Tony Stewart waits for a practice run
Tony Stewart waits for a practice run

When NASCAR shuttled southwest to popular Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500 in Ft. Worth, Texas, they knew all three series—Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks—would provide exciting racing.

They didn’t know one event—the NCWTS race—would provide one of the biggest stories of the year.

As many followers of sports on the planet and almost all motorsports fans know all too well by now.  Kyle Busch wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr. during a caution and was parked for that action—not only for the remainder of the race, but for the rest of the weekend.

Busch sat out the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races.

While the media focused on Busch, and those following the motorsports world raged on about an obvious infraction of wrecking during caution, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards joked with each other and discussed their performance on the track.

Busch was relegated to a seat on the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing pit box normally occupied by his wife, drawing media attention like a super magnate.  Real action coverage might have been seen by some as almost shared time.

Almost.

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Busch needs to get past all the focus and live up to his regrets.  If he doesn’t, he may be looking at a shortened career.

All any NASCAR fan need do is look back to the career of Tim Richmond, who had big talent—as much or more than Busch—and much better looks.

Richmond had it all and lost it to his dalliances.  If Richmond had lived, he might have thrived more than Earnhardt.  Maybe Earnhardt would have been just a footnote in comparison to Richmond’s legend.

Carl Edwards on pit road.
Carl Edwards on pit road.

But that’s not NASCAR history.  Richmond died from disease, Earnhardt on the track he loved.

Busch has the talent to be in this very elite group and earn championships.  He may never get there, but this is a defining moment and he needs to learn to step up.

Yet again, Busch has become part of another Chase opportunity fading like a shadow well before the great sun in Homestead.

Busch might want to join fans in knowing what the top finishers had to say about the exciting race in Texas.

Check out what winner Tony Stewart, runner-up Carl Edwards, and third-place standout Kasey Kahne had to say before the green flag and after the checkered flag:

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet) Finished first. (Started fifth)

Before the green flag:

"You have to be comfortable (at Texas Motor Speedway), or you’re not going to go fast," Stewart said.  "The more comfortable I am, the faster we go.

"Every year that we come here, I think the racing just gets better and better, as far as being able to move around on the racetrack and guys not having to just follow each other and get stuck behind each other.  You can actually pass.  You can race.  You can get away from guys if your car’s fast."

After the checkered flag:

“I don't know that we ever got out of the top five there the whole race,” Stewart said.  “Seemed like we just kind of stayed there, stayed in the top three or four the whole day.  Restarts were key obviously.

“We're controlling our destiny.  Today is a perfect example of that. We're worried about what we're doing. We're not worried about what they're doing.  We raced our race today.  We didn't do anything worrying about what they were doing or how they were doing things.  We just ran our race.  That's what we intend to do the next two weeks.

“I'm not worried about anybody.  I'm worried about what we're doing, and that's it.  I mean, make no mistakes, understand this when you leave here, for the next two weeks, I don't care what he does.  I didn't care what he did last week.  I didn't care what he did this week.  I was worried about the 14 car and that's all.”

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford) Finished second. (Started seventh)

Before the green flag:

"Texas is one of our strong points," Edwards said. "I feel really good about going there, especially the way our Roush Fenway Fords run there.  Texas is different than any track we go to just because of the atmosphere.  It’s one of the biggest races of the year.  The fans, sponsors and drivers all know it; there is a lot on the line and there is a lot of pride in winning a race there."

After the checkered flag:

"Man, we're just going to hold Tony to it," Edwards said.  "They're going to have to run that well to beat us these next two races.  I think, really, it's going to be a great battle.  I'm excited about it.

"I think that Phoenix is still a huge unknown.  It makes me think that Homestead could be a lot closer than I expected before this race.

"We'll go to Homestead with the same package, same ideas, and hopefully have a similar performance.  It looks like Tony might be in the same boat."

Kasey Kahne (No. 4 Toyota) Finished third. (Started ninth)

Before the green flag:

"The car has felt great ever since we got here," Kahne said.  "We’ll try to be as smart about it as we can when we practice, compared to when we race, and how we go into the night, and how things change.  We’re trying to be prepared and have some good adjustments in the car built in so we can keep up with the track on Sunday afternoon."

After the checkered flag:

"The Red Bull team just keeps doing a good job," Kahne said.  "They're working hard.  It's pretty impressive for a lot of them not knowing their future, not knowing what's going on there, if there will be a two-car team or one-car team, to keep putting the cars on the track like they are.

"I watched Tony and Carl.  They're going for it.  Tony raced me as hard as he ever raced me.  I had to race as hard as I could.  They're trying to get as many points as they can.  It's intense trying to win these races right now.  It's super close.

"Tony thinks he's the guy right now.  The guy he's going against thinks he's the guy.  It's going to be a battle to the end."

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com.

Unless otherwise noted, quotes and information were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR and team representatives.

Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com.

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