The 34th running of the Budweiser Shootout sparked the beginning of what is surely to be one hell of a 2012 NASCAR season. And a year after tandem racing, NASCAR finally gave the fans exactly what they’ve been missing….the triumphant return of Pack Racing. In changing things from length of the back bumpers to the openings of the grilles, NASCAR did everything they could to get racing back to the famous—and sometimes infamous—pack style racing. And it worked because this was one of the best Bud Shootouts I’ve ever seen.
If any fan would have told me prior to the Shootout that the #18 M&Ms Camry driven by Kyle Busch would have been in victory lane I wouldn’t have taken you seriously. Especially after how badly the 2011 season had ended to Kyle Busch and his JGR team.
Kyle and his team rallied from two spin saves which could have easily been wrecks, as well as having to start at the back of the field in a backup car — necessitated by a wreck in Friday’s practice — Busch won the season-opening exhibition race for the first time. His winning margin over Stewart was .013 seconds, the closest in Shootout history, in a green-white-checkered finish that took the race seven laps beyond its scheduled distance.
Busch’s victory was the first in a NASCAR race car using electronic fuel injection, which was introduced to the Sprint Cup Series this season. But how did we get to such a photo finish? Stewart had just taken the lead on Lap 74 of a scheduled 75 when a violent wreck in Turn 4 sent Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet barrel-rolling through Turn 4 and sliding on its roof toward the entrance to pit road.
Gordon was following Kyle Busch on the backstretch, and contact between the cars turned Busch’s Toyota onto the apron. Busch made a dramatic save for the second time in the race, but Gordon slid up the track into the Chevrolets of Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. As all three cars contacted the outside wall, Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet nosed beneath the right rear bumper of Gordon’s car and turned it upside down. The wreck left 11 cars on the lead lap and sent the race to overtime.
Which leads into what Kyle Busch had to say about the win:
“It was great driving when I was nearly turned around,” Busch said in victory lane. “First race back in the M&M’s car, and we’re in victory lane. I can’t say enough about these guys,” said Busch.”For these to pull out a backup car like this is incredible. I was just stabbing and steering out there and having fun. It was intense…just guys pushing all the time. It was a great race.”
“I had much more fun as a driver out there tonight,” said second place finisher, Stewart. “Definetly a lot more fun. You felt more eager and engaged than in the two-car draft. This is much better than sitting there and having to stare at a back of a spoiler for 500 miles.” I am sure that Tony has a sour taste in his mouth after losing out to Kyle Busch even if it’s just a money race.
The pack racing is back and scarier than ever; thanks to Jeff Gordon we all know just how scary it can be. But, what a way to kick off Speed Week and the 2012 season! Fans, this is going to be one wild ride so I suggest that you pull those belts down tight and hold on!
Kyle Busch Wins Second NASCAR Cup Title
Kylke Busch, who is arguably the most polarizing driver in NASCAR, won his second Cup title on Sunday and took the opportunity to celebrate the victory with fans, a big change from his first win back in 2015 when Busch ruined the massive championship banner by doing smoke-filled burnouts.
“It messed up the flag and everything, and I wanted to get a good shot with the flag everywhere, make sure everybody could get a good shot of the flag because we’re the 2019 champions,” Busch said (h/t ESPN/Associated Press). “There are always your doubters. There are always your haters. You know what? This one’s for ‘Rowdy Nation’ because you guys are the best. Thank you so much.”
Busch won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to snap a 21-race losing streak, doing so as teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. were slowed by pit-road issues.
Busch joined seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson as the only active drivers with multiple titles.
“You’ve got to be perfect. One mistake probably cost us the championship,” Truex said. “I’ve never had that happen. I don’t even know what to say. It doesn’t drive good with the left front on the right front, though, I can tell you that. It’s very tight.”
“I feel like I did all I could. I don’t feel I could have done a better job. I didn’t leave anything out there,” Hamlin said. “I was thinking we got a chance, and it just didn’t work out. We got a little aggressive there, and it cost us.”
“Everybody always says you never give up. We’re no different. We just do what we can do each and every week,” Busch said. “Sometimes we may not be the best. Sometimes we may not have the right track position. We had a really good car, and I could race around and move around. That’s what’s so special about Homestead Miami Speedway is the ability to put on a show.
“I felt like we did that there racing those guys. I know it kind of dulled out toward the end. It was exciting enough from my seat. It was a lot of fun to cap off such an amazing year.”
When it comes to playing at a championship level, it takes a team effort, and just as it is for Kyle Busch, it’s the same for esports teams, gamers, streamers, and even cosplayers as well. When you’re competing with the best Twitch channels, or striving to be along side the best Mixer channels, then you need to put in a championship effort.
When you’re looking to be ranked among the best female streamers, or looking to get your cosplay ranked in the best cosplay directory, then Gamactica can help! Whether you’re looking for streaming equipment or to network, the community has it all.
Tony Stewart Punches Heckler During Race Track Fight
NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, got into a fight with a heckler at a Jackson, Minnesota racetrack on Friday night, which saw the 48-year old driver punch a heckler in the face.
Stewart, who was the center of attention as that Jackson Motorplex put on “Tony Stewart Night”, was driving in a spring car race when his engine apparently blew out after only one lap.
Following the race, Stewart was signing autographs for fans when a heckler approached Stewart and, according to eye witnesses, began cussing Stewart out for “quitting” only one lap into the race.
Stewart responded to the colorful tirade, which included calling Stewart a “piece of sh#t”, but saying that; “I blew out my engine, you f#cking asshole. Do you want to pay for it?”
The exchange continued and escalated further when Stewart hauled off and punched the heckler in the face, with it all caught on video, courtesy of TMZ Sports.
Grading 2018′s New Driver/ Team Pairings – Alex Bowman/ Hendrick Motorsports
Undeniably the apple of an entire nation’s eye for over two decades, Dale Earnhardt Jr poignantly announced in the spring of 2017 he would step away from driving in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the end of the 2017 season.
Once the initial shock value wore off, reality set in. Who could possibly fill the shoes of the sport’s most popular driver? Dale Jr’s lasting impression on legions of fans young and old is unparalleled. Ultimately the conundrum of the century would centre around who might fill the gargantuan shoes little E would leave behind.
Dale Jr’s departure from Hendrick Motorsports left one the sport’s most coveted rides up for grabs. Immediately the rumour mill was set ablaze with potential candidates loyal Dale Jr supporters fancied. Following three months of intense speculation, Rick Hendrick would reveal Dale Jr’s replacement in late July 2017.
Next man up for the #88 team a tall lanky fella from Tucson Arizona. Chances are y’all probably remember him as the kid that subbed for Dale Jr while he recovered from concussion-like symptoms that kept him from the seat of the Nationwide Chevrolet in the fall of 2016.
Certainly no stranger to the Monster Energy Cup Series (Made 81 Career starts from 2014-2016), Alex Bowman makes his triumphed return as a full time driver on the circuit for the first time in nearly two years. Driving the #88 car for Hendrick Motorsports axiomatically elevates Bowman from enchanting underdog to proverbial impact player. No longer a low man on the totem pole expeditious results at HMS would give credence to an emerging young star hoping for a rebirth following past failures with BK Racing & Tommy Baldwin Racing.
Thrust into a precarious position at the age of 21, Alex Bowman exhibited incredible poise in the face of adversity. Visibly Alex was not equipped for the competitive environment that cup racing bestowed upon him back in 2014. One quality season (2013 – 2 top 5’s, 6 top 10’s 2 poles, 11th in the driver standings) in the Xfinity Series cannot enumerate impending success on the other side.
Instead of licking his wounds Bowman bided his time wisely eventually earning the opportunity to sub for Dale Jr in the fall of 2016. What could have easily morphed into catastrophic gaffe #3 for Bowman positively altered his career saving him from infinite anonymity.
In the 10 races (2016) Alex piloted the #88 car he made quite an accounting for himself (3 top 10’s, 1 pole) earning the respect and confidence of both Mr. Hendrick and Dale Jr.
The simple formula for success in 2018 relies squarely on the shoulders of Alexander Bowman.
Bowman’s familiarity with crew chief Greg Ives and the entire #88 team perpetuates some of the chemistry established back in 2016. A contingent of smart fans out there including myself firmly believe Alex Bowman was on his way to capturing the checked flag at his home track(Phoenix) in November of 2016. On this day Bowman dazzled, starting the race from the pole ultimately leading 194 laps on his way to a career best 6th place finish.
Even though the former self-proclaimed bad luck Bowman left the desert without the checked flag, indisputably he walked away a winner. Bowman’s courageous showing converted the cynics into believers. Without this fine performance in the bag Bowman could have found himself easily lost in the shuffle never to be heard from again.
Perseverance spearheaded the rise of Bowman mania. The whimsical wave of momentum Bowman’s been on since that race at Phoenix spilled over into 2017. Bowman turned heads in February finishing third in the Clash at Daytona, once again piloting the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet. He would also capture his first career Xfinity Series victory at Charlotte in the fall of 2017 driving for Chip Ganassi.
Perceptibly this young buck is completely equipped for the fate that awaits him once the green flag drops on the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series at Daytona in February.
Rick Hendrick has all the confidence in the world in Bowman’s capabilities. Mr. H could have taken the high road and hired an established veteran driver, instead trusting Bowman’s youthful exuberance lets the entire racing world know he’s committed for the long haul.
Alex Bowman has the credentials to resuscitate Rick Hendrick’s anaemic #88 team from the ashes. Fresh blood can unite an entire nation of fans that are starving for a breath of fresh air.
Don’t Be Dale Jr, Be Alex Bowman. That’s paramount.
Alex Bowman has an entire nation on his side. So watcha gonna do when Bowmanmania runs wild on you?
Final grade – B
Photo courtesy of Autoweek
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