Dean of Speed's Daytona notebook


It’s not been a good week for the Busch boys.

On Friday NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch over allegations of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and on Saturday Kyle Busch broke his right leg in crash in the Xfinity Series race.

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On Sunday, for the first time since 2000, there wasn’t a Busch brother on the grid at the start of the Daytona 500.

Now it appears both brothers could miss a huge junk of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Kurt Busch was denied a final appeal of his indefinite suspension after a Delaware family court judge ruled on Friday that he believed testimony that he had assaulted former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September at Dover International Speedway.

He is not likely to be reinstated until all the legal ramifications of the case are dealt with — which could take months.

Kyle Busch, meanwhile, underwent one surgery late Saturday night to repair a compound fracture in his lower right leg and he was moved to Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday for what could be more surgery.

Joe Gibbs, team owner of Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota, said on Sunday they have no timetable for his return.

Based on Tony Stewart’s recovery for a similar injury in 2013, Kyle Busch could be out for at least two months.


In the aftermath of the Kyle Busch crash, which happened on a section of Daytona International Speedway that does not have a protective Safer barrier, several drivers were critical of the track owners — International Speedway Corporation — for not having the whole track circumference protected.

None so much as reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick, who blasted track officials even after DIS boss Joey Chitwood announced that he would immediately start a project to “cover every inch” of track walls with the Safer barrier.

“It’s a reaction from the race track, unfortunately,” Harvick said on Sunday. “I hit the same wall a little further up, last year, at this particular race and kind of voiced my opinion and unfortunately I was just a ‘dot’ on the chart and there was no reaction.

“Now there’s a reaction from the race track. So, hopefully this is a lesson learned.

“You don’t want to have a reaction. The race tracks have to be proactive.

“They have to look ahead and look for accidents that might happen.

“We know what fixes these walls and that’s to put a wall in front of them ... that’s why we wear a helmet; that’s why we wear HANS; that’s why we wear fire suits; that’s why we have fire bottles ... it’s for that one moment that you have to protect yourself. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, things are going to be fine ... so, help us by trying to prevent that one situation,.

“You have Kyle Busch, one of our sport’s biggest stars, who is out and not being able to race because of the lack of attention that it takes to the safety on these superspeedways and instead of being proactive, the track was reactive.”


You would think that driving a stock car at more than 200 mph for a living would make one immune to being frightened by anything but npot in Brad Keselowski’s case.

The 2012 Sprint Cup champion driver of the No. 2 Ford said he was really scared when his engine blew up on Sunday with 40 laps to go.

“It scares the crap out of you to be honest,” Keselowski said. “It’s a big explosion and you’re sitting right next to it, so it’s not fun.

“Once you get recovered from that, then all you can think about is you had a shot to win the race and that’s pretty cool.”


There was also a scary moment as Formula 1 teams were conducting pre-season testing on Sunday when two time world champion Fernando Alonso crashed his McLaren Honda, which occurred just before turn four at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

Alonso was airlifted to a nearby hospital after preliminary treatment at the infield care centre.

Eric Boullier, McLaren’s racing director said the results of a CT scan done at the hospital revealed no serious injuries.

“Fernando’s accident was just one of those things that happens in testing,” Boullier said. “Fortunately, he’s fine, but was concussed during the accident, which therefore required an overnight stay in hospital as a precaution.

“That’s normal practice after a concussion.”

Alonso’s teammate, Jenson Button, had been due to take over driving duties in the afternoon, but the team decided to park the MP4-30 following the crash.

In the final day of tests at Catalunya, Romain Grosjean logged the fastest lap for Lotus/Mercedes at 1:24.067, with Nico Rosberg second quickest for Mercedes at 1:24.321and Daniil Kvyat third for Red Bull/Renault at 1:24.941.


For the first time in five years, weather was not a factor on Sunday from start to finish at Daytona. Last year, there was even a tornado warning. Just blues skies and temperatures near 25C this time around. ... Interesting Danica Patrick fact that doesn’t reflect well on the third-year driver of the No. 10 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet: In her 83 Sprint Cup races so far, her average finish has been 25th with no wins and no top-five finishes. Combined with her 61 starts in the then NASCAR Nationwide Series, Patrick’s record drops to 0-for-144. ... Nice gesture by four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon, walking his children Ella and Leo down the red carpet during driver introductions. It was Gordon’s final appearance in the Great American Race as he will retire from Sprint Cup driving at the end of the 2015 season. ... Lots of Verizon IndyCar Series fans firmly believe NASCAR to be the dark lord of motorsports but truth is the open wheel series has lots of cross over with the stock car guys. The two most successful IndyCar owners — Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi — have teams in both series and Chevrolet’s NASCAR engineers were heavily involved in the design and manufacturing of the new IndyCar aero kits that will be introduced at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg season opener next month. ... First car out of the Daytona 500 was the No. 40 Chevrolet of Landon Cassill with a blown motor on Lap 18. ... The career drought at the Daytona 500 for Stewart, the three- time Sprint Cup champion, continued when he slapped the wall on Lap 41 in the No. 14 Chevrolet after contact with the No. 20 Toyota of Matt Kenseth. ... Regan Smith finished 16th in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in relief of suspended Kurt Busch. Meanwhile, Matt Crafton finished in 19th place as an 11th-hour substitute in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, for Kyle Busch.


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