Bristol Update: Kurt Busch first of Chase contenders to stumble

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A strong opening stint for Kurt Busch tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway has quickly turned into a nightmare scenario for himself and his Chase hopes.

“The Outlaw” took the lead from pole sitter Denny Hamlin at Lap 23 but around Lap 80, he suddenly fell from first to fifth before he went to pit road under green flag conditions for a loose wheel on his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.

A slow, 18.9 second stop was then followed by a pit road speeding penalty, forcing Busch to do a drive-thru run through the pits. That put him multiple laps down but things were not done going sour as he was forced to pit a second time due to more wheel issues.

Finally, the FRR team opted to bring Busch behind the wall to replace a wheel hub. By the time Busch returned to action, he had tumbled all the way to 41st at 26 laps off the pace.

The winless Busch had gone into tonight’s race ninth in the Sprint Cup standings, but now it appears that his shot to make NASCAR’s postseason has sustained a potentially lethal setback.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)