Kyle Busch will attempt to win all three NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.
If he’s successful, it will mark only the second time in NASCAR history that a driver has swept all three weekend events.
The previous winner to do so?
Kyle Busch, of course, in August 2010 at Bristol.
Busch will drive the No. 18 DoubleMint Toyota in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race, the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota in the Nationwide Series event and the No. 51 Dollar General Toyota in the Camping World Truck Series.
“I love Bristol, and getting back there running all three divisions is going to be fun again,” Busch said in a Joe Gibbs Racing team media release. “Being able to get back in the Truck, of course, and then run the Nationwide car and also run the Cup car. … . We’d love to be able to repeat 2010 – that would be amazing – and do another trifecta.”
Busch, 29, loves racing at the .533-mile oval, but his overall success in recent years has not been as good as he’d like.
“Since they’ve ground that place, it’s not necessarily been my best track lately,” Busch said. “So, I’ve got some work to do to figure out how to get better there and make it happen.”
Like a good race car driver, Busch also gave kudos to his primary sponsor for this week. Normally, we’d omit something like that, but in this case we’ll leave that reference in because there is some relevance and similarity to what Busch did in 2010.
“We’re excited to have Doublemint on the car this weekend,” Busch said. “It’s the company’s 100th anniversary this year and it was on my car for the sweep in 2010, so hopefully we can bring them back to victory lane on Saturday night..”
Busch was nothing short of dominant in that August 2010 weekend, leading a race-high 282 laps in the Sprint Cup race en route to victory lane, while also leading 514 of a possible 956 laps across all three series races there.
Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.
Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.
On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.
One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.
After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.
The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.
Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.
“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.
“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”
But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.
“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.
“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”
Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.
“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.
“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”
The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.