Busch enjoying dream season
Ah, to be 23 and
While most people in their early 20s are struggling to begin their professional careers or personal relationships, Busch just keeps on winning races, proving that he is by far the best driver in NASCAR in 2008.
With seven wins in his first 19 races this season, he has joined
Moreover, Saturday's win at Chicago gave Busch a whopping 262-point lead over
It's not only that Busch has won so many races for Joe Gibbs Racing this year, but also how he has won. He either dominates or snatches away victory at the last moment, as he did in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona two weeks ago and at Chicagoland Saturday night.
"I've watched Jimmie Johnson do that a few times and I don't know how I did that," Busch admitted. "Jimmie was going to bring us down slow. I remember this from short track days when somebody was in your mirror and you creep up on them. You stop and they'll go up on you. Well, I just went -- I pushed Jimmie to go and was like, 'let's go man, here we go.'
"That was the saving grace right there was a good restart. I just had to go to the outside because he was going to block the bottom in turn one and two. It sucked for me out there. I don't know how, why or whatever.
That is the latest move that adds up to an incredible season for Busch.
"I really don't believe how good things are going," Busch said. "It's just been a phenomenal year. Something just so special. I have to thank the good Lord from up above. I don't know where this is coming from, but he's blessing us all at Joe Gibbs Racing this year. This is just a privilege to be a part of and we're so proud."
But even with such an outstanding start to the season, it doesn't ensure Busch the title. After all, his dominance can disappear in the 10-race "Chase for the Championship" if another driver gets hot at the end of the season. That is what happened last year to
That means Newman is now free to join Stewart on the same team in '09.
"We want to thank Ryan for his hard work and contributions to Penske Racing over the past nine years," said team owner
Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, is currently in his ninth season competing for Penske Racing. He is 16th in the Cup Series standings through 19 races this season.
The driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alltel car for the 2009 NASCAR Cup season will be announced in the near future.
Castroneves will remain at Team Penske, where he has raced since '00. Kanaan said he plans on signing a new deal with Andretti Green Racing later this month, extending a relationship that began with the '03 IndyCar Series season. Team co-owner
Wheldon confirmed on Saturday that he has agreed to terms to remain with Target/Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series. Wheldon, who won the '05 IndyCar title for Andretti Green Racing, has been with the Target team since '06.
With those three secured for '09, it leaves
Castroneves was always expected to stay in the IndyCar Series despite an erroneous report by the
Prior to unification, Wheldon had talked about trying NASCAR but said now that the IndyCar Series is whole, he plans on remaining an IndyCar driver.
Kanaan had been rumored to be a prospect for Team Penske when
"By re-signing with Andretti Green I'll be pretty much done," Kanaan said. "I'm 33. It won't be a short deal. Driving for
Beatriz started second and passed Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate and pole sitter
Four other women have competed in Firestone Indy Lights events since the series began in '02, including
Beatriz' previous best finish was third three times this season.
"I just can't be more thankful for Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports for bringing me to the U.S.," she said. "I thought I would win at St. Pete, we were almost there. It's hard work. I'm with the best team and they have so much information on oval. I won my first race on an oval. It's amazing. I'm really, really happy to win as a driver, not so much as a driver of my gender. I look forward to having a great career in America."
Beatriz was brought to the United States by former CART driver
After eight years of loyal fan support, including sold-out or near sell-out crowds, Nashville Superspeedway is about to fall off the IndyCar Series schedule.
Although fans of the Tennessee track have been very supportive of the series, the concrete surface does not lend itself to a competitive IndyCar Series race, making it a one-groove track.
Combine that with one of the lowest sanctioning fees in the series and IndyCar Series officials are prepared to replace the 25,000-seat facility on next year's schedule in order to make room for some new venues.
That means one of IndyCar racing's coolest trophies -- a specially-painted Gibson Guitar -- may have been awarded for the final time to
Ironically, the track is in the home area of Firestone, which makes it a very important market for IndyCar's tire supplier. It is also the one track that eats up tires because of the abrasive concrete surface.
"Definitely the concrete, I believe, is the issue," said Castroneves. "Firestone has been doing fantastic trying to make better tires. But it's just the concrete, which has a lack of grip. Our cars, it's tough for us. We depend a lot on the downforce as well. When the tire is gone, basically for us it's difficult to stay right behind another guy or try a second groove."
IndyCar will add a street race in Toronto to the schedule next season and possibly a return to the ovals at New Hampshire and Las Vegas.
"I think it needs to be an even split between ovals and road courses," said rookie driver
After IndyCar driver
IndyCar officials requested medical certification showing that an individual had been inoculated for the mumps or had the illness earlier. Otherwise, individuals had to give a blood sample to a member of the IndyCar medical staff to be tested.
So when the series arrived at Nashville for Friday morning's practice, the race had already been nicknamed the "Mumps 200."
"I just went and had my blood tested," said Scott Dixon. "Coming from New Zealand it would have taken me a full week to try and get the paperwork back. So I just went ahead and had my blood tested."
Ryan Briscoe said he had never heard of any mumps cases in his lifetime.
""It's unfortunate for E.J.," said
"Tony has been crazy, always. But man, he makes stuff happen. I think somebody wrote a column on the web saying it was admirable and it certainly is. He is taking such a risk, but that is his style man.
"I mean, a lot of people may look at that team and go, well, the caliber isn't correct. It doesn't match up, why would he do this? But he will make it the way he wants it, you know. He has done that with everything. That race track he owns is superb. His race teams he owns, the sprints and what not, are first class. Everything he does, he gets the right people and he gets them motivated.
"He is fun to be with, fun to work for. So that is pretty cool for him. I am happy for him. He has earned it. He has put a lot into this deal. He has put a lot into this sport and he has earned it. He has earned [the right] to do whatever he chooses to do I feel like."
"First of all, we didn't let him go. Tony [Stewart] came in and said he wanted to leave. I think that's a good question. We had a contract through next year and we talked about that and my initial reaction and with
With NASCAR Sprint Cup racing having a rare weekend off, the IndyCar Series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which is more like a weekend at Boy Scout Camp. The road course is tucked away amidst the cornfields of Ohio, but to get there, one must drive through Amish Country, which draws a stark contrast between the two lifestyles.
From what I understand, despite his recent bout with "the mumps,"