NASCAR Richmond Notebook: Brian France Says Kyle Busch May Have Path To Chase

(NASCAR Wire Service)

By Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Kyle Busch (Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch (Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va.—NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France couldn’t have been more emphatic when he met with the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday in New York City.

Safety remains the sanctioning body’s number one priority, France said, and with that assertion came a ray of hope for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch, who was sidelined at Daytona International Speedway in February after a crash that broke his right leg and left foot.

Busch’s No. 54 Toyota slammed nose-first into a concrete wall unprotected by SAFER barriers during a NASCAR XFINITY Series race the day before the Daytona 500. Because Busch’s injuries resulted from what France considers a safety lapse, NASCAR will try to find a way to give Busch a path to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

“Depends on when he comes back, of course,” France told the Associated Press, “but it’ll be more likely than not that we’re going to try to figure out how to accommodate him, which is the beauty of our playoff system.

“What happened to him was on us. We’ll balance a lot of things at that point, when we have to make a decision, but we’re inclined to want to figure that out for sure.”

For Busch to be eligible for the Chase, NASCAR would have to grant a waiver—and perhaps more. Already this year, NASCAR has granted waivers to Kurt Busch, who was suspended for three races, and to Kyle Larson, who missed the Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville after fainting during an autograph session the day before.

Beyond that, a driver who receives a waiver must win a race and finish the 26-race regular season in the top 30 in the series standings to remain eligible for the Chase.

Busch may need NASCAR to give him a pass on the top 30 rule, as well. Last year, David Gilliland was 30th after 26 races with 407 points, and with each passing race Busch misses, a comparable total would become more elusive.

Drivers can score a maximum of 48 points in a race, a number that includes three bonus points for winning, one point for leading a lap and another point for leading the most laps.


On Lap 18 of last Sunday’s Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes at Bristol Motor Speedway, Brad Keselowski spun exiting Turn 4 and collected Team Penske teammate Joey Logano.

Given that both cars were wrecked early on and lost double-digit laps during repairs, the competition debriefing at the Penske shop following the race was probably a short one, right?

How about non-existent?

“We didn’t have one, because there was nothing to talk about,” Logano said on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “I had a meeting with my team and we went over what went on through the weekend, but we didn’t talk much as a team because there wasn’t as much to go over after such a short run.

“Everything is fine. Brad and I talked about it. It is not like … he obviously didn’t mean to do it. It hurt both our days, not just mine. It was a tough day, but we were able to take something out of the weekend. I think the damage repair the team did was really good, and we showed we had a really fast car afterwards. That makes it more frustrating when you can go run with these guys but you don’t want to be that guy racing with them when you are 50 laps down.

“You don’t want to make enemies out there.”


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran Timothy Peters, a Virginia native, dodged trouble on the final lap of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown and won Thursday night’s charity event at South Boston Speedway.

Peters was racing side-by-side with Lee Pulliam with one lap left, when contact from Josh Berry sent Pulliam spinning. Running in the top lane, Peters avoided Pulliam’s spinning car and took the checkered flag, beating William Byron to the stripe.

Peters claimed the $10,000 first prize in a race that benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation. Hamlin didn’t fare nearly as well in the late model stock car event he established to raise money for charity. Hamlin retired after 69 laps with a valve train problem.


Fans at Richmond International Raceway and at NASCAR home tracks across the country will see one predominant color this weekend—green, whether it’s on the “A” posts or race cars, pit boxes, hauler flags of NASCAR officials’ uniforms.

This weekend marks the third anniversary of the NASCAR Race to Green initiative, a program designed to raise consciousness of environmental concerns and at the same time to reduce the sport’s carbon footprint.

A new aspect of the program this year features an opportunity for fans to measure their environmental impact through a cooperative effort between NASCAR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fans can visit on the web and receive tips from NASCAR official partners on how to enhance their environment-friendly practices.

Since 2008, NASCAR green has planted enough trees to offset carbon emissions from all national series combined for the past five years—and for 40 years to come. NASCAR drivers have run more than seven million competition miles on Sunoco Green E15, a biofuel blended with 15 percent American-made ethanol from American-grown corn.

Each year, approximately 120,000 Goodyear tires are recycled across NASCAR’s top three national series. More than 200,000 gallons of oil at tracks and team shops are recycled annually by Safety-Kleen, and more than 25 million bottles and cans have been recycled over the past six years through collaborations with Coca-Cola and Coors Light.

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