Bubba Wallace won a NASCAR race at Kansas in Kurt Busch’s car and advanced to the second round of the playoffs even though he technically didn’t make them in the first place.
Got all that?
Boy oh boy … what in the world is going on?!
Erik Jones and Wallace are your winners so far in these Cup playoffs, neither of whom are actually in the playoffs. Bubba, remember, is running Busch’s car for the Owner’s championship. He ain’t eligible for the Driver’s title.
Meanwhile, some guys named Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch can’t stop crashing and currently BELOW the playoff cutline, while Christopher Bell is the only driver who’s secured his spot for the next round.
Don’t ask me how, because I don’t know.
Anyway, back to Bubba Wallace … give us that finger, my man!
Bubba Wallace Was Fired Up
No, it wasn’t the kind you were expecting, but it undoubtedly meant the same thing. Hell, Bubba pretty much said it over the radio as he crossed the checkers.
“What are they going to say now? Let’s go! Hell yeah!” he shouted to his team.
More on Bubba in a bit.
We also have more Kyle Busch-to-Richard Childress drama, more Kevin Harvick bashing NASCAR safety, Jimmie Johnson (yes, him!) maybe running at North Wilkesboro next season, and we revisit Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning NASCAR’s first race back after Sept. 11.
Four tires and a can of Sunoco fuel, baby … Monday Morning Pit-Stop is a GO!
No More ‘Throwing Rocks’ At Bubba Wallace
This was Bubba’s second career Cup Series win and first since Talladega last fall. This one, though, felt different.
There was no rain to help Bubba this time, and it wasn’t a superspeedway. This was an intermediate track and freaking Bubba Wallace flat out beat everyone. Just ran away from the field.
And it wasn’t even his car (although, detractors will certainly say that’s why he won, I’m sure).
“Been doing this for a really long time,” Bubba said. “I haven’t won a race like that in a really long time, but just knowing getting excited is going to mess you up, so it was just cool, calm, and collected, and here we are.
Kyle Busch Changes NASCAR Landscape, Joins RCR And Becomes Biggest Free Agent Signing Since Dale Jr.
“True fans that are out there, thank you, guys. I love you. It’s been a tough road. You guys are the best. Let’s keep this train rolling.”
Crew Chief Bootie Barker, you got anything to add?
“We took it to them. What can you throw rocks at us about this time?”
Bubba Can Be Dramatic … Kansas Win Wasn’t One Of Those Times
Look, Bubba is by far the most polarizing driver in the sport for several reasons – some legit, and some silly. I’ll let ya’ll figure out the silly one.
The legit reason, at least for me, is the fact that Bubba can, frankly, be a drama queen at times. If I see one more post-race picture of him kneeling next to his car in distress I’ll pull my hair out.
A second-place finish, but you know he wanted one more spot. pic.twitter.com/18l5i4foPp— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 7, 2022
This wasn’t one of those times, though. This was a huge win for Bubba and 23XI – one that makes you go, ‘Uh-oh … that team may be a problem.’
Kevin Harvick Torches NASCAR Response To Safety
Speaking of problems …
Kevin Harvick, we good? All going well in your world?
“There needs to be some better leadership on the safety situation … the whole safety thing is really kind of second fiddle right now. And I just don’t think that’s fair to the drivers,” Harvick said over the weekend.
Harvick, NASCAR’s most senior voice in the garage, has been on a warpath all week after his car literally went up in flames for no reason at all at Darlington. He held court with the media for a blistering session at Kansas, and took aim at just about anyone and everyone.
By the way, he has a point.
“I’ve lived this, man,” Harvick said. “I watched when we had all the trouble with with Adam and Kenny Irwin and then it resulted in Dale Earnhardt and then all of a sudden, it was mandatory to wear a HANS device, it was mandatory to wear the Hutchins device. We developed soft walls.
“(Safety) can’t be slow. The safety cannot be slow and this car, it’s screwed up as far as the way that it crashes. Whether the data says that or not, every driver in this garage will tell you that it’s not right. And it hurts. Feet hurt. Hands hurt. Head hurts.”
Harvick said all that Saturday and then promptly wrecked early at Kansas, finished dead last and now must win at Bristol to advance.
What are your chances, Kevin?
“Better than most,” he said.
He’s probably right … as long as he doesn’t catch fire.
Kyle Busch Set To Join Richard Childress Racing
Let’s pivot to another senior, outspoken voice in the garage …
Kyle Busch, anything planned this week?
Tuesday pic.twitter.com/O6sYr3PESZ— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) September 12, 2022
Ah, OK! Finally.
We’ve been waiting, and speculating, and predicting, and debating for months where Busch would sign for next year and beyond, and he’s finally going to tell us.
Here’s the thing … we kinda already know.
I told you last week that Busch was most likely going to Richard Childress Racing, and that was the report over the weekend.
Shoot, Busch basically told us on Saturday when directly asked about RCR.
“We’re still working on it behind the scenes trying to put it all together. It’s not done,” Rowdy said. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train.”
So, Busch is expected to join RCR next season. Cat’s out of the bag!
Where that leaves Tyler Reddick, and what car Busch drives, is still unknown. But Rowdy said he’ll tell us Tuesday, so I can wait one more day.
Kyle Busch Says NASCAR Drivers Don’t Get Paid What They Used To
By the way … how about the irony of Busch and Childress joining forces? Anyone remember when a 65-year-old Richard allegedly put 26-year-old KB in a headlock 11 years ago after a disagreement during a Truck Series race?
Well, apparently time heals all wounds!
As for the current state of negotiations between the two sides, Busch said it’s been a different kind of fight.
“Who’s to say he hasn’t punched me again in any of these conversations,” he continued. “Drivers ain’t making what they used to anymore. It’s fact. I was fortunate to be in a really, really good spot for a long time and had good leverage there to get paid very well.”
Poor Kyle. Hope he can eat tonight.
Fight Nearly Breaks Out At Indianapolis Speedrome
You know who also doesn’t get paid enough? Legends who ALWAYS are at the ready when a brawl breaks out.
Shout out to this hero for capturing this emotional rollercoaster.
There was major BEEF last night at the Indianapolis Speedrome. If anyone needs me to come film their school fights, let me know! 😂 pic.twitter.com/CK2AChKBma— Presley Sorah (@PresleyRacing) September 11, 2022
Grassroots racing at local tracks are an absolute jungle, folks. It’s the Wild Wild West in the infield, and you HAVE to have your head on a swivel at all times.
Jimmie Johnson Back In NASCAR?
Two more things before we load up the hauler and head to Bristol.
First, how about this little bit of news buried in the Kansas weekend …
So I told @JimmieJohnson that #nascar fans already were asking about him possibly racing at North Wilkesboro.— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) September 9, 2022
And Jimmie’s face lit up as he noted that as the 2013 All-Star Race winner, he still could be eligible under a 10-year exemption.
“That’s another option!” he smiled. https://t.co/QfB4x20RCn
I know the instant reaction is to say Jimmie was joking, but I wouldn’t be so sure. He’s eligible to race, would absolutely love to return to North Wilkesboro, and he clearly ain’t ready to full retire yet.
Frankly, I think NASCAR should be BEGGING both Jimmie and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to run at North Wilkesboro. The place would be ELECTRIC.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins In NASCAR Return From 9/11
Finally, I’ll leave you with this iconic moment in NASCAR history as Sunday marked the 21-year anniversary of Sept. 11.
The sport returned to racing Sept. 23 after the attacks, and Earnhardt Jr. drove his big, beautiful, iconic No. 8 Budweiser Chevy to the win at Dover.
Everything about it was perfect.
“Hey, where that big American flag at?” is NASCAR at its best, and Junior at his finest.
On to Bristol.