With a $1,000,000 on the line, drivers are ready to rumble, All-Star style. Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR recognizes that this particular event will bring out a more aggressive side of drivers.
[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”241″][/media-credit]“You can be a lot more aggressive,” Kyle Busch commented on Friday. “That probably may be the reason why I‘ve gotten myself in trouble here a little bit is just trying to push it as hard as you can push it to try to win the race,” Busch added.
“The All-Star race is a different atmosphere for me, since it’s a different way of racing for everybody. It’s just that it’s a non-points race, and the pure fact you’re going after a race just for bragging rights and a million bucks,’ Kyle Busch said, ‘That’s what it is all about.” Busch, currently on probation for a post-race altercation with Kevin Hayrick at Darlington Speedway will be under the watchful eye of NASCAR during Saturday‘s main event.
When questioned about his current feelings and position with Harvick, Busch had this response. “My priorities are to go out on the race track and race everybody as hard as I can, as clean as I can and do my job to try to win races. The things that happen on the race track sometimes when you get into somebody and wrinkle some sheet metal and hurt some feelings,” he continued. “It’s a part of NASCAR racing and has been for years. Unfortunately, there seems to be a following between Kevin (Harvick) and I and what’s going to happen next. To me it’s just another competitor out there on the race track. I race them all the same and give them all the same room that they give me. I don’t foresee any further incidences, but that’s from my side. I’ve forgiven and forgotten.”
Best known for his exciting style of driving, Busch finds it hard to define his type of driving style. “A lot of guys would say that they’re patiently aggressive. That’s the best way to look at it,’ Busch said. ‘I guess that’s the way I thought I was a few years ago, even though there wasn’t a lot of patience involved.” While his patience has improved, Busch still remains aggressive. His winning ways irk race fans, but in his own words, ‘it makes it exciting for fans.’
For NASCAR’s newest bad boy Ryan Newman, this race will be a gunfight worth winning. “The win in the All-Star Race was my greatest win, I thought, as a person and as a team.” Newman continued, “What we did and what we achieved that night, it’s all for the glory. In an All-Star race, it’s much more than pride.” Newman, the 2002 All-Star Race winner has recently been called out for an exchange with Juan Pablo Montoya.
“The All-Star weekend, it has changed what it looks like over the last several years.” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said after questions arose that he did not care if he made the All-Star field. Earnhardt tried to explain his position and felt misinterpreted. “It’s a different race than what it was in the mid-80’s but it is still our All-Star event. Looking at other sports it’s a celebration of the sport, celebration of what the sport is about, celebration of the characters in the sport past and present.”
While the money and prestige is on the line, Earnhardt believes that this race is all in fun. No pressure and no points were his message. And while many drivers consider this track to be in their backyard because of the race shop location, for Earnhardt it is truly a hometown track. The Kannapolis native believes in the history of the racetrack and has enjoyed coming to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for many years.
Earnhardt won the All-Star event in 2000. His memories coming to the checkered flag was that of pure panic. “You start hearing all the noises in the car and wondering what’s going to fall off and what you broke and what’s breaking now and what’s going to break,” Earnhardt added. “I don’t know. It was just panic mode the whole time, just really frantic inside the car.”
Earnhardt, a historian in the garage, would rather see the fans treated to a more relaxed day of racing. He recalls a time when this particular event was more of a circus than a celebration and a fun time to boot. “Now that I’m in the event and working and trying to race and trying to win it,” Earnhardt said,“ it’s a lot more pressure, lot more intense but maybe it’s still fun from the other side of the fence to experience.”