Ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway last weekend, Kyle Busch bluntly described the late race cautions that NASCAR has now become known for as a “complete s**tshot.”
During a pre-race press conference Busch was asked by Holly Cain of NASCAR Wire Service, “Would you say that generally speaking going to the short tracks it’s a little more mellow than it was in the past? Have the road courses almost become more of what we used to envision the short tracks to be like? What’s the kind of general vibe when you guys come to the short tracks now?”
Busch responded, “I don’t know. I don’t think so. I mean there’s still some gouging that happens during the short track races. It’s not quite as frequent, I guess, that we see somebody get into somebody and create a yellow or whatnot.”
“But the restarts and stuff do tend to get hectic,” he continued. “If you get a caution in a Cup race, any race for that matter within 30 laps to go, 20 laps to go, it’s going to be a complete s**tshow.”
Busch explained, “Because everybody’s just dive bombing and trying to get all the spots they can and ricocheting off of everybody to get further up towards the front. Honestly, you probably have a better shot winning from sixth with 20 to go than you do from the lead.”
“That’s the nature of it and what all we’ve come accustomed to be with the amount of respect that’s been the last couple of years,” he concluded.
Busch would also criticize NASCAR’s short track package for the cars saying, “I would hope to think it’s better than what we had, let’s go with that. Richmond I felt like the cars were a bit more of a handful. I felt you could follow a little bit closer than what you could last year, but you still had those deficiencies. I think we’re still going to see some of that deficiency here even though you’re rolling through the corners maybe 60 mph or whatever it is.”
“But Mark Martin said it best years, years, years ago if you’re moving aerodynamics matter, downforce matters,” he added.
He went on to compare the Cup cars to the Xfinity cars, “The Phoenix race when I ran the Xfinity car you could get right up to the guy in front of you’s rear bumper and you could close that gap and you could actually mess up the guy in front of you. You could get him aero-loose.”
“With our cars you can’t really get there and if you try really, really hard and you do get there, the front guy feels no effect and he just goes on his merry way and you feel all the blowout, is what we call it, and so the Cup cars are still not where they need to be and we don’t seem to have that fixed yet,” he concluded.
Busch’s criticism of the cars was not an anomaly. Following the race, Denny Hamlin shared his frustration with the package. He said, “We had the lead and the caution came out. We had nine lap tires and we pitted there and it put us back towards the end of the lead lap cars, and just can’t pass.”
When asked about how the race was like compared to the one from last year, Hamlin elaborated, ““It was worse. You can’t pass. I mean 30-40 lap tires and you can just stay up front. Cars that I was lapping … you just can’t pass them. That’s an aerodynamic problem that we’ve got to figure out.”
He would later tell the press gaggle, “It’s all track position. Racing is track position. This is the new NASCAR, where these cars you just cannot pass. You just get out front, don’t mess up on pit road, don’t mess up your strategy, and you’ll win.”
He shared similar thoughts in his post-race interview with FS1 telling them, “Cars that I just was lapping 10 laps before that, couldn’t pass them. So this is next gen racing with these tires and this aero package. There’s no passing. Obviously, we saw 41 dominate the race and once he got caught in the back that was it. That’s just what we got now.”
Busch ended up finishing 21st at Martinsville. He currently sits in 8th in the point standings, 44 points behind current leader Christopher Bell.
What do you make of Kyle Busch’s observation about late race cautions and his criticism of the short track package?