Monday, August 25, 2008

Back To School: What Have I Missed?

Yes, it's that time of year again. I think I need to catch up my thoughts on all the news of the last week or so, not to mention the latest incarnation of "can these guys be rivals?!?"

- NASCAR brought the hammer down on the Gibbs Nationwide teams, suspending 7 guys and stripping the team of owner and driver points. The driver points are meh, they're not running the full year. This does bring the #20 back to earth a bit on the owner side. What is big is the indefinite suspensions of guys. I wonder how many of them will be back with the team... someone could use their "free time" and recruit some Toyota talent.

- Kyle Busch wins Bristol trucks, Brad Keselowski wins Nationwide race. You know, Keselowski has been exceptional this year, his first full year with the #88 team. If JR Motorsports of all teams can't get a sponsor, that would be surprising. He could win the championship this year - and certainly would be a favorite in 2009. Here is some audio from Keselowski himself, courtesy of Nationwide.

- Casey Mears to RCR with Jack Daniels in the #07, Clint Bowyer moves to General Mills and #33. Bowyer is obviously unhappy, anyone who watched the press conference or saw the pictures could see that. I mean really, moving from the badass Jack Daniels car to Cheerios and Hamburger Helper? I'd be upset too. Not to mention the possibility he won't be in the top 35 next season, unless this happens.

- Carl Edwards used the classic bump-and-run on Kyle Busch to win his second straight Sharpie 500. The win made for some interesting fireworks after the race as we're 2 races away from the Chase, and Edwards now has 6 wins to put up against the 8 of Busch. More on this in a bit...

- Two items of note from today, the long-awaited announcement of Joey Logano as the driver for the #20 Home Depot Camry next season with Home Depot returning as sponsor. I'll have much more on that later this week. Also, NASCAR is working out the kinks in regard to the '09 testing policy. So far I like it, which is obviously a minority opinion when it comes to things NASCAR has done in the last several years.

- Kyle Busch vs. Carl Edwards

As opposing to manufactured feuds, this one could be the real deal - maybe. NASCAR and the media tried to make Jeff Gordon/Dale Jr. a rivalry several years ago. It failed, of course, because there wasn't a compelling backstory. So it fizzled out quickly. Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick had a good rivalry back in the Busch Series, as they had numerous run-ins and culminated in the post-race collar-grabbing at Bristol back in 2002. The last great NASCAR Sprint Cup rivalry was Kurt Busch/Jimmy Spencer, a rivalry that was years in the making. Kyle is a natural adversary much like his brother. For a while it might have been Jr., but he couldn't keep up. That left Edwards, the other dominating driver this year, to make something happen - and he did. The move he put on Busch was short-track racing. Busch's reaction was childish, and Edwards didn't put up with it as he spun Busch around on the cool-down lap. It will be interesting to see if this can be a legitimate feud that has staying power, not just a flash in the pan as so many have been before.

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