I’m not backing down from my prediction in today’s column in the Review-Journal and here at lvrj.com that Kurt Busch will win the Sprint Cup championship this year.
Despite being one of only three Dodges in the field — all of which run out of Penske Racing — the 2004 champ will get his second.
His biggest advantage will come from being one of only three Dodges. Dodge is running an engine with more power than a year ago and it’s lighter so that allows new crew chief, Steve Addington, to shift added weight around to help handling while keeping it at 3,400 pounds, the minimum weight.
Another edge is Addington, who had been brother Kyle Busch’s crew chief the past two years at Joe Gibbs Racing. The Busch boys were taught about race cars by father Tom Busch so they have similar ways of communicating to crew chiefs about how cars react and how they want them set up.
I think Addington and Kurt will click. Addington is in his late 40s and Kurt will interact better with an old guy like he did with Jimmy Fennig when they won the 2004 championship at Roush Racing.
GREAT JOB BY KYLE
Kyle Busch had one of his worst qualifying efforts Thursday in the Camping World Truck Series but it was one of the greatest days of his young racing career.
Tonight will be the first race for his two-truck Kyle Busch Motorsports team, and full-time driver Tayler Malsam qualified sixth.
What makes Kyle’s effort so impressive is that about two months ago Kyle’s organization was still moving into a new shop and busy converting used Ford trucks into Toyotas.
Watch out for this team once they get into the trucks it is building.
Most impressive was how Kyle remained a supportive boss and not an upset driver.
TOO MUCH DANICA?
Danica Patrick has overshadowed everything during Speedweeks at Daytona. She’s been the most talked about person there for the past two weeks.
It’s not her fault.
And it will only last for another three weeks before she shifts back to focusing on her IndyCar season. She’s schedule to run 12 Nationwide races this year, including next week at Fontana, Calif., and the following week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
So far, she’s said all of the right things and her added exposure will help the popularity of the IndyCar circuit.
She did a good job in last weekend’s ARCA stock-car race, but she did have one of the best cars with one of the best engines in the race. But she didn’t make any mistakes.
She won’t get a top-10 finish in Saturday’s Daytona race but she will finish unless she gets caught up in someone else’s mistake.
Her only mistake this week was appearing in Tuesday’s “CSI: New York” show on CBS. She handled her lines well but it was the dumbest race-themed drama since the movie “Driven.” That’s not her fault.
SUNNY IN POMONA
A good sign for NHRA this year?
A year ago crappy weather extended the Winternationals by three days in Pomona, Calif. That cost NHRA a ton of money and didn’t help racers either.
But the forecast for the 50th anniversary of the event this weekend calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s.
With rain expected in Daytona today, could Mother Nature finally be smiling on drag racing?
It’s only a four-hour drive if you need a nitro fix.