Sunday, May 23, 2010

Busch Steals Big Bro's All-Star Thunder

Even though Kurt Busch held off the field for an impressive All-Star win Saturday night, he was once again upstaged by his little brother's red hot temper.

While some members of the press made an appearance in Victory Lane to interview the champ, there was also a large media contingent surrounding the No. 11 hauler.

Why, you ask?

The journos were assembled to see a potential smackdown between the irate Kyle Busch and his teammate Denny Hamlin.

When the ruckus began, Hamlin and Busch were first and second on the leaderboard Saturday night, when Busch got a run on the No. 11 and tried to pass .  Hamlin had other plans and blocked his teammate, causing Busch to slap the wall.  And this caused Busch to want to slap Hamlin.

Busch wrecked out a few laps later when his damaged car lost control and hit Kasey Kahne.  Per Busch's radio comments, "Somebody better keep me away from Denny. I'm gonna kill that $#@!."

Busch then proceeded to park his banged-up Toyota right outside Hamlin's hauler.  And wait. 

Once Hamlin arrived at the truck it was at least 20 minutes before the pair emerged from their conversation with team owner Joe Gibbs.  And although Hamiln left the meeting with a smile and positive things to say about his fuming teammate, I admit I disappointed.  I was hoping for something a bit more colorful.  After all, Hamlin's guys bested the No. 18 team at the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, and then bested him again during the race.

In fact, the words of the great competitor Ricky Bobby come to mind, "you can't have two number ones, cause that would be 11."

However, the Busch/Hamlin kerfuffle was only one of the many story lines which emerged during last night's All-Star race.  In case you missed it, here's a recap:

Fans Doubt the Edwards Vote - Carl Edwards couldn't drive his way into the All-Star race, but he won the right to run after being voted in by fans.  However, conspiracy theorists abound online and accusations were flying via Twitter that the vote could have been rigged. Folks were even demanding a recount. If you believe the hype, there's almost as much mystery surrounding the Edwards fan vote as there is around "The Case of the Loose Lugnuts".

Truex Knows How - Could Martin Truex, Jr. be the sleeper of the season? Truex snagged a win in the showdown segment, which secured his spot in the All-Star main event.  Then he pulled off a second place finish in the big race.  That NAPA/Michael Waltrip Racing team is looking better and better.

A Prayer to Remember - Five-year-old Taylor Gibbs gave the invocation Saturday night and by the time he said  "Amen" I doubt there was a dry eye or a frown left in the house.  Taylor, who is the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, is now cancer-free after a three-year battle with leukemia.  His was the sweetest, most touching pre-race prayer ever.

Quite Possibly the Understatement of the Season - "We got somebody mad," Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford explaining to his driver why he should stay away from his own hauler after the race.

Not an All-Star Night for HMS - The powerhouse that is Hendrick Motorsports didn't have the best of nights.  Heck, they didn't even have a mediocre one. Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon were entangled in the first on-track pileup, ending their evenings early. Then Jimmie Johnson made an uncharacteristic slip and slid through the infield turf, losing his chance at the checkers.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought home the best finish for HMS in 12th spot - and even that wasn't pretty.

Photo info: Kyle Busch and teammate Denny Hamlin battle it out on the track.

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