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Can Kyle Busch rout the All-Star field? Maybe so

Can Kyle Busch rout the All-Star field? Maybe so

When you're one of the best in the business, it's hard to be humble (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



   By Mike Mulhern

   Maybe Kyle Busch can help salvage the spring for the sport.
   The Daytona dazzler – remember that dipsy-doodle -- won the pole Friday night for Saturday's 135-miler (9 p.m. ET).
   All-Star hype for NASCAR's annual All-Star race seems a bit off this week.
   But then drivers this spring have seemed a bit off since that early wreck in the Daytona 500 some three months ago.
   It's been an odd year. Drivers insist they're driving hard...but there are few passes for the lead on the track under green, and few cautions for rubbing....thus few of those dazzling double-file restarts.
    Still, with $1 million to the winner, Saturday night's weird race (five legs, 90 laps total) should be a hot one.
    Should be, but it's so far difficult to detect any great feistiness out here yet at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    The deal this season has been for drivers to do their best to avoid mistakes, to avoid potentially losing situations. Even with no points on the line in this  race, it might be tough to avoid that scenario.
    Even Kurt Busch seems to have cooled off from his Darlington ruckus.
    The 7:30 p.m. Showdown (two 20-lappers) could be interesting. The top two finishers advance to the big show, plus a driver voted in by fans, widely expected to be Dale Earnhardt Jr. AJ Allmendinger and Martin Truex Jr. are on the front row. Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya and Joey Logano are also in the prelim.
    The All-Star race will likely be another 'track position' battle, drivers say. That means fresh tires probably won't be any great advantage.
    So the winner should come from the first two or three rows in the final restart, probably with a couple of laps to go.
    Carl Edwards says the best in the business at two-lap challenges like that is teammate Greg Biffle:
   "There's no better two-lap racer than Greg Biffle.  He's aggressive and not afraid to stick his car somewhere where it needs to be... or maybe where it shouldn't be, but he'll make it work. 
    "But I still think the double-file is very difficult.  A guy can miss one shift, or a guy can go three-wide when you don't expect him to -- and all of a sudden everything can go from great to terrible for you."
    Biffle, who has been supremely confident this season, and sits atop the Sprint Cup standings, says "there's no mystery to what's going to happen --  Track position is what's going to win the race.
    "And we'll see what this track thinks of new tires; after 20 laps we'll see how important a new tire is.  Maybe it doesn't really matter that much.
    "But you've got to be at the front at the end.  You're not going to win from the fourth or fifth row, just because you have new tires."

      And the final restart? That's been key this season.
      Who is the best driver at restarts?
      Many point to Kyle Busch.
      Biffle says restarts are tricky:
    "A lot of times it's reflex time and when the leader puts the gas down... how much he puts it down. Does he spin the tires... does he get good grip.
     "And then just reaction time of that lane. 
       "You want to put the gas down as much as you can, but if you do that too quickly you start spinning the tires -- and then there's no way to really get them to stop spinning. 
     "It happened at Darlington.  I don't know what happened to Tony;  I think he ran out of gas a little.  But the bottom lane got jammed up, and the top lane is going and the bottom lane is not. 
     "I've got guys going out three-wide behind me, driving down in the corner on the apron. 
    "It's a hornet's nest that last little bit."

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