Busch had luck on his side | NevadaAppeal.com

Busch had luck on his side

Roger Diez

You know the old saying, “I’d rather be lucky than good?” Well, that adage certainly applies to newly crowned NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch!

I mentioned last week that a bad pit stop could change the whole outcome, but Busch had not only a bad stop, but lost a wheel at one point, yet still finished high enough to take the title. So given the kind of luck I had predicting the outcome of the Chase, I think I’d better stay away from casinos for a while.

The first Nextel Cup Championship is going to be the subject of controversy for some time to come, especially among Jeff Gordon fans. Had NASCAR not changed the championship format Gordon would have won the title by 47 points over teammate Jimmy Johnson, with Busch languishing in fourth, 247 points behind. However, the change in format certainly accomplished NASCAR’s goal, which was to put its big show into the limelight during the NFL season and the World Series.

Ratings were up significantly for some, if not all, of the 10 Chase races. This was especially true for the season-ender at Homestead, where last year Matt Kenseth had already clinched the Championship. With five drivers in legitimate contention this year, both seats in the bleachers and in the living rooms were a sellout.

Following hard on the heels of NASCAR’s recent decision to allow distilled spirit manufacturers to enter the Nextel Cup sponsorship fray, it was announced the Cup Champion Kurt Busch will be sponsored by Crown Royal for 2005. The company piously stated that it will continue the “Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly” campaign that it used as sponsor of this year’s International Race of Champions.

However, the American Medical Association immediately weighed in on the opposite side.

In a prepared statement, AMA president-elect J. Edward Hill, MD charged that NASCAR’s expanded sponsorships by hard liquor brands pose a danger to America’s youth. Hill said, among other things, that,

“NASCAR is the fastest growing sport in America and boasts 75 million fans. We believe it should use its new-found marketing and cultural influence to be a positive role model, not to endanger the lives and health of youth through the glamorization of liquor.”

Hey, isn’t that pretty much what they said when they banned tobacco advertising? Just wondering.

Les Kynett of Champion Speedway was in San Jose recently, and shared a front-page article from the San Jose Mercury News with me concerning a possible Champ Car race in San Jose this coming summer. I dug up a little more information on the Internet, and it looks like a pretty solid project. The San Jose Grand Prix was officially unveiled last on November 19 by Mayor Ron Gonzales, and is scheduled to take place July 29-31, 2005.

It will be a downtown street race, much like the Long Beach Grand Prix or the Denver Grand Prix. Since Champ Car lost its date at Laguna Seca in Monterey for next year, this will keep its presence in Northern California. This is especially important in light of the fact that the Indy Racing League has a race scheduled at Infineon next year, one of its first road races.

Here’s another quick update on our Carson Outlaw Kart kids at Red Bluff. Kellcy Bell won the Box Stock Trophy Dash and was leading the A main when she tangled with lapped traffic, allowing Zachary Heinz to shoot past into the lead. Kellcy finished eighth, putting her into the points lead.

Jennifer Purcell was 13th in the A main, and Jay Primm missed a transfer spot from the B main by one position. Kellcy’s big sister Mackena qualified fastest in Open Intermediate and won the Trophy Dash and B main as well before finishing sixth in the A main. Mason Millard scored a personal best with a sixth place in the Beginner Box A main, while Elizabeth Heinz missed a transfer spot out of the C main and had a short evening.

Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist. Contact him at racytalker@aol.com.