On-track, Kyle Busch has to face his house of horrors – Kansas – once more

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Kyle Busch was in the news on Wednesday for all the wrong reasons, as he received a citation for speeding.

The news for “Shrub” doesn’t get much better this weekend in terms of his day job: it’s the first time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway this year, and it’s been Busch’s personal house of horrors since his first start at the track in October of 2004.

In 13 starts, Busch has an average start of 16.5 and an average finish of 23.3. Yet that finish would be a step forward by nearly 10 positions after his last three races at the track, where he has crashed out of all three and ended 31st, 38th, and most recently, 34th last fall. He’s on record as saying he’s not a fan of the track’s new variable banking, either.

Additionally, he also had a dust-up with Brad Keselowski in last fall’s Nationwide race at Kansas; Brad K will be under the microscope this weekend as well after his involvement in the big Talladega crash last weekend.

Busch’s best run at the track came way back in 2006, when he led 64 laps and finished seventh; that’s one of only two top-10 finishes he’s posted there.

A good run this weekend won’t erase the past demons, but it would put the spotlight on something other than his on-track disasters and off-track incident that will otherwise be talking points.

The bright side for Busch going into the weekend is that he already has a win this season (Auto Club Speedway), so yet another poor run in Kansas won’t be detrimental to his Chase chances. A poor run in Kansas this fall, however, would.

What’s next for Danica Patrick after the Indy 500? Dreams, downtime and waffles

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INDIANAPOLIS – When Danica Patrick was a 14-year-old growing up in Roscoe, Illinois, she had a firm idea of what she’d be doing 20 years later.

A reporter from her hometown newspaper recently reminded her of that in a recent interview when he brought a prescient artifact from those teenage years – an essay that she crafted as an up and coming go-kart driver about her racing accomplishments.

“I’m breezing through it, and then at the end, it said, ‘I wanted to race Indy cars,” Patrick, 36, said Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I was 14. I told him, ‘See? If this isn’t an example of “Write that shit down,” nothing is.’

“This is manifesting. You have write it down and you have to imagine what you want. So I do that as much as I can.”

Heading into the final start of her career in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 (she will start seventh in her No. 13 Dallara-Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing), Patrick already seems to have a solid idea of the next 20 years — in part, because of having some glimpses into her post-racing life.

There has been plenty of downtime since her final NASCAR start in the Daytona 500 three months ago. She has taken vacations (including an India trip to meet the Dalai Lama with boyfriend Aaron Rodgers) and created several new routines on her suddenly free from racing weekends.

“I make waffles on Sundays now,” she said. “That’s pretty fun.  In the summer, there’s like farmers market.  I can’t wait for that.  I mean, there’s going to be probably some new stuff that I don’t know yet.

“The one thing that I am definitely looking forward to less of is less stress.  Last weekend was awesome at the end of it all because it went well with qualifying, but I was nervous for 95% of that weekend. That’s uncomfortable.”

But testing her comfort zone is appealing to Patrick, who has spent most of her adult life testing the boundaries of gender norms in her profession. Though the pressure of race weekends might disappear, her incessant quest for challenges probably will remain.

Now that racing is over, Patrick still has a winery, a clothing line, a cookbook and a fitness manual to promote – and more is on the way.

“I just have a habit for pushing myself to uncomfortable spaces, making them comfortable for me,” she said. “At least just making them comfortable enough to be able to manage.

“As an example, I went bungee jumping a long while back, like 10 years.  I’m super scared of heights.  I’m still scared of heights.  But I just like to know that if I want to do something, I am brave enough and confident enough to do it.  That doesn’t mean I’m not still scared.  That doesn’t mean it’s not still something that’s easy to me afterward. I just like to know I can get past the fear if I have to.

“I’m OK with transitioning into other things, finding a little bit of happiness and joy each day, less colorization of emotions. I’m ready for that.”

So what specifically is on tap? Talk shows? Another book?

Patrick demurs when pressed.

“I think I have definitely big dreams and aspirations for myself, for all my companies, for the kind of emotion I want to have on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a good, easy, happy, calm, joyful, exciting, adventurous life.  If I say I want it, there’s a very good chance that’s what I’ll get.”

In the short-term, there’s hosting an ESPN awards show that will keep her busy through July.

And after that, her schedule will free up just as Green Bay Packers training camp begins for Rodgers, the two-time MVP quarterback.

“I’m thinking I’m going to have plenty of time to write a cookbook in Green Bay,” she said.