Found March 28, 2013 on Start 'N' Park Blog:
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Welcome to the March 28, 2013 edition of Start ‘N’ Park Blog’s Stock Watch. Each week we’ll take a look at who’s rising, falling, and treading water in the world of NASCAR. This stretches all division and all aspects of NASCAR, including drivers, owners, crew members, media and fans. Finding their way onto this week’s watch includes Kyle Busch, Sam Hornish, Jr., Auto Club Speedway, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart, and Denny Hamlin. Is your favorite NASCAR personality rising, falling, or treading water? Find out below. Rising Photo- Getty Images Kyle Busch (Sprint Cup Series) – Busch won for Toyota’s first win at the Auto Club Speedway and put Joe Gibbs Racing in victory lane for the first time in the Sprint Cup Series at that track. He was the dominate car, leading 125 of the 200 laps and looked like he’d have to settle for second place. Thanks to former teammate Joey Logano, Busch was able to take home the win. If he can snag one more, maybe he can put fears of dropping out of the Chase on the last race to bed. Kyle Busch (Nationwide Series) – It’s amazing what going from your own equipment to someone else’s will do to a driver. In this case Kyle Busch went from mortal in 2012 to superhuman again in the Nationwide Series. That said, Parker Kligerman put his KBM Toyota in the fourth spot, so the equipment isn’t that bad. It’s just not as good as Joe Gibbs Racing’s equipment. Sam Hornish, Jr. (Nationwide Series) - We can’t let Kyle be the only one rising, can we? Hornish is making me a believer that he could be the one to beat in the Nationwide Series this year. I know he finished fourth in the standings last year, but he had no wins, nor any memorable runs. Now he’s got the win and finished second this weekend at Fontana. Not very memorable, but how many other times did he finish second in the last year or so. It is still very early, but 28 point lead in the standings isn’t much to sneeze at either. Auto Club Speedway - This track was the definition of boring and not a fan-friendly race. The races were long, which they fixed by axing 100 miles off the Cup race, then there weren’t as many people going, which they fixed by putting ads over empty seats to make the crowds look better, and the racing was bad. Well, that has changed thanks to the new Generation 6 race car. It helps there was the drama around Joey Logano, but the racing on the track overall was a million times better than previously. Once teams get a handle on this new car the old way could return, but until then bask in your glory Auto Club Speedway, you deserve it. Falling Tony Stewart (Sprint Cup Series) – Stewart lives in a world of do what I say, don’t do as I do. That’s what we saw Sunday on the final restart. Yes Joey Logano blocked him and potentially held him up for the win, but viewing the in-car video, Stewart never lifted. It’s not like Stewart checked up, he just didn’t have the best angle going into the corner. Further dropping points in my book was Stewart going for the hair on Logano when he confronted him. Come on, that’s a teenage girl move, you’re better than that Smoke! The silver lining is this is pretty entertaining for me and made for some great sound bites. Denny Hamlin (Sprint Cup Series) - It looks like Hamlin will be out for at least six weeks due to a compression fracture of his lower back. It’s amazing that in this day and age there was no SaferBarrier where his car struck the inside wall. Neither driver wanted to give up anything coming out of the corner, and, unfortunately for Hamlin, he got the worst end of that deal on and off the track. Once healthy, I suspect it won’t be long before he pays Logano a visit with his front bumper. Side by Side (Sprint Cup Series) – I still am lost on how this “Side by Side” works with the Fox network. It seems like when it should be used, during green flag racing, it is not used. Then when it is used, nine times out of ten, it’s under caution. Anyone care to explain it to me that maybe they have certain times they can use it that is pre-determined, maybe (not really) that will help be understand it. Otherwise chalk it up as something that had good intentions, but was done poorly by Fox. Treading Water Joey Logano (Sprint Cup Series) – I’m liking that Logano isn’t taking anyone’s crap on the race track. The problem is I didn’t like how it all went down at the end of the race. Racing Denny Hamlin for the win and Hamlin crashing was a racing deal. Both drivers were not giving up an inch to each other, and that was the expected resulted. Obviously Logano, when interviewed, could not have known Hamlin was hurt. But coming out and saying he got what was coming to him was over the line. I’d rather have chalked it up to hard racing and then next week at Martinsville have it be the returned shot. This sort of retaliation at larger tracks is exactly Brad Keselowski vs. Carl Edwards at Atlanta. Will be interesting to see what happens in two weeks Martinsville. Joe Gibbs Racing Drivers Not Named Kyle Busch (Nationwide Series) - It is supposed to be a break out year for Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers, they’re running full-time in the series for Joe Gibbs Racing. Instead it is the Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch who’s stealing the show away from them. Two weeks in a row mechanical failures bit either Sadler or Vickers, and both are not setting the world on fire like their pre-season hype would have led you to believe. I think it’s still the learning curve for both with the team, Busch has years upon years of experience with them, they just need to get their act together soon because the season might get away from both.
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