The Final Word – Welcome to Indianapolis, welcome to Kyle’s world

It was the Brickyard 400, presented by Kyle Busch. He led the first lap, he led the last one and led most of the laps in between. If the focal point of a race is at the front, if the drama of a race is to see who is leading the way, this competition was pretty much done when they waved the green flag. In short, Busch kicked their combined asses to take his fourth of the season, the 38th of his career, and his second consecutive Brickyard.

Oh, Kyle also won Saturday’s junior circuit race. 38 Cup wins, 83 junior wins, 45 truck wins (albeit in a series no longer broadcast to Canada), 166 victories in all. Man, that looks impressive, until you remember that all but five of them were claimed after he became a full-time major leaguer. That’s 123 wins against minor-league opposition, almost all on the same weekends and the same tracks the big boys (and girls) ran. That begs the question, just what in the hell is the point to the XFINITY and Camping World Truck series? If the inclusion of Cup guys is to draw out fans to see the spectacle of the top dogs slumming, it sure is not working. I believe there were more folks working the various concessions than were in the grandstands at Indianapolis. It was downright embarrassing. Still, I guess there are some who do not mind being embarrassed, while at the same time the vast majority of us are allowed to do other things with our Friday and Saturday afternoons.

By the way, Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, and Erik Jones are the top five guys in the XFINITY series at present. They have a combined four wins between them in 18 events. Kyle Busch has won seven in 11 starts. Watching those who dream of moving up and those wrapping up their careers in moving down, play second fiddle every damn week to the moonlighters from the Show, is obviously no longer of interest for a vast majority of us. Good Lord. So ends my sermon. Amen.

Sunday brought us the final appearances at the venue of Tony Stewart and, as it turned out, Jeff Gordon once again. The FOX announcer suspended his brief retirement to substitute for the ailing Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a couple of races, finishing 13th while Stewart came home two spots better. The Columbus, Indiana native made one hell of a move on that opening lap to move into second. I wonder if Kyle saw it in his rear view mirror?

Due to his absence, Junior drops out of a Chase place. Kyle Larson is 11 points ahead, with even Kasey Kahne sitting a point ahead of Earnhardt, who now is 18th in the derby. Jamie McMurray got a piece of the late race troubles, winding up 19th but remains 26 points to the good in 15th place. A quartet who have drifted almost out of touch were Trevor Bayne (30th), Ryan Blaney (36th), A.J. Allmendinger (38th), and Greg Biffle (39th). Not a good day to experience bad tidings.

As a television event, it was not bad. The final dozen laps were downright exciting, as wrecks often are. Too bad it was a one horse pony show. Too bad only 50,000 folks, according to one news source, bothered to turn out to this “crown jewel” NASCAR event. Compare that to the 300,000 who took in the Indianapolis 500 in May. Just imagine how many, or few, took in Saturday’s preliminary contest.

Next Sunday, it is the triangle known as Pocono. Gordon leads the way with six career wins there, so a seventh would be a nice way to go out one more time. He was third last year. A dozen others on this weekend’s grid all have shared the winning experience there at this two-race venue. Biffle and Kahne could use another one about now.

As for Kyle Busch, he is 0 for 23 at Pocono, with a pair of runner-up finishes. He was 31st in June. I should mention that brother Kurt Busch has three wins, so if any ole Busch will do, you might be in luck. Back in June, both Chase Elliott and Matt Kenseth ran strong, but it was Kurt who led the final 32 laps for the victory.

Now, if Kurt is not your boy, I have sad news. With the XFINITY series running Saturday in Iowa, Kyle might not be running. I am truly sorry.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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