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Busch brothers may be the happiest in NASCAR

April 16th, 2013 6:57 pm by Jeff Birchfield

It’s not a joke, the happiest drivers in NASCAR these days may be the Busch brothers.
Nearly as famous for their tempers as their incredible driving talent, the two siblings have plenty of reason to be cheerful.
Kyle Busch is fresh off a NASCAR-record seventh weekend sweep at Texas, while he and older brother Kurt made up the front row for last Saturday night’s NRA 500.
Coming off one win last season, his lowest total since 2007, Kyle Busch already has two wins this season and sits a solid third in the Sprint Cup Series point standings. He has four straight top-five finishes heading into this weekend’s race at Kansas.
Back in Joe Gibbs Racing equipment in the Nationwide Series, Kyle Busch is also dominating NASCAR’s No. 2 circuit with four wins in the first six races.
Kurt Busch, who has spent the better part of the last year and a half trying to rebuild his career, looks to be a contender to win in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.
Although he’s had trouble the last two races, Busch has shown speed necessary to get to victory lane. One of NASCAR’s best road racers as well as a talented restrictor-plate driver, there appears to be several chances for the 2004 Cup Series champion to win.
While the gambles of the Las Vegas drivers seem to be paying off, the two drivers at the top of the Sprint Cup standings have been very unhappy over the past couple of weeks.
Brad Keselowski escaped penalty, but could get another lecture from NASCAR’s brass following his tirade against the sanctioning body after Texas.
The defending series champion already has had one closed-door meeting with NASCAR officials this season. It may not be the last for the outspoken champion who often says what’s on his mind.
Jimmie Johnson has his own set of issues despite holding the points lead. The five-time series champion cut loose on his critics following his victory at Martinsville.
He responded on twitter to criticisms of not letting Dale Earnhardt Jr. have a lap back, as well as those who discredit him as a driver.
Johnson said, “I’m a bad teammate. I have a cheated up car, I’m lucky and the race was fixed. Gotta love twitter and NASCAR fans.”
Earnhardt defended Johnson prior to the Texas race, while Johnson may never win over some fans who talk about the times his crew chief Chad Knaus has gotten caught bending and breaking the rules.
Until Johnson wins a championship without Knaus on the pit box, he will probably have some of those detractors. Meanwhile, he’s like Richard Petty in his prime piling up wins, up to 62 for his career following the Martinsville victory.
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Johnson City driver Zeke Shell pulled within five points of the lead in the Late Model Stock driver standings at Kingsport Speedway, following his second straight victory last Friday night.
Shell passed race leader Paul Nogradi Jr. on lap 35 of Friday’s 60-lap feature. He pulled away from Nogradi, who got tangled up in a battle with Ryan Stiltner for second place.
Knoxville driver Chad Finchum, who finished sixth on Friday, leads the standings by five points over Shell and Daniel Pope II of Smyrna.
Shell and Finchum each have two victories, while Pope is still looking for his first win of the season.
Nogradi is in a tie for seventh with Tyler Goodwin, a 16-year-old Daniel Boone High School student, and Hayden Woods, a 17-year-old who attends Providence Academy.
Another NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program is scheduled for this Friday night at the 3/8-mile concrete oval.
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Jerry Turner of Bluff City swept Motorcycle races at the DER Bracket Series at Bristol Dragway this past weekend.
Turner rode his Kawasaki to a win over Kingsport’s Christopher Friis in Saturday’s championship round. He defeated Elizabethton’s Chris Johnson in Sunday’s final.
Elizabethton racers had a huge weekend overall.
Larry Price II was runner-up in Saturday’s Sportsman action and Carl Widener defeated Van Green in the Pro division final. Justin Pierce won the Sportsman class on Sunday.
Drivers from Johnson County also had a lot of success.
Brandon Thompson of Mountain City won Saturday’s Trophy Division and Mark Crowe of Butler was the Trophy Division runner-up on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, Ethan Ford of Jonesborough was the runner-up in Junior Dragster, Division 1.
DER Bracket Racing returns to Bristol Dragway this weekend.
Street Fights are scheduled on Thursday, with the incentive for anyone who pulls off a perfect reaction time to get a free night of racing.
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Racing is not scheduled to return to Volunteer Speedway until May 6. Many of the Volunteer regulars will be headed to the 1/3-mile Tazewell Speedway the next couple of weeks. The Claiborne County track has a regular weekly schedule for this Saturday night and the World of Outlaws Late Model Series scheduled for Saturday, April 27.

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