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Are those really NASCAR drivers racing in the Tour de France? Sure looks like it....

  Even the King (L) couldn't calm down AJ Allmendinger after one of those crashes at Daytona (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   JOLIET, Ill.
   Well, Kurt Busch and Mark Martin did say they were taking a European vacation next week, between Saturday night's 400 here at Chicagoland and Indianapolis' Brickyard 400 July 25th. But Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya didn't tell anyone they would spend a few days riding in the Tour de France.
   Or at least that's the way the first few days of that bicycling classic has gone – like NASCAR drivers gone wild on bikes, crashing, crashing, crashing.
   Last Saturday's Daytona 400 was another 'Whoops, better get out of Gordon's way' race. And Clint Bowyer, the final victim in a night of bashing by way too many drivers against rivals, may have something to say about this week.
   And what might new FIA boss, Jean Todt, have thought about the carnage he saw at Daytona, on the last Sprint Cup race before the 2.5-mile track is completely rebuilt from the base up. Work has already begun on the new pavement, to be ready for testing Goodyear hopes sometime this fall, because it will likely require a significant tire redesign.
    What was Todt (who took over for long-time boss Max Mosley) doing at Daytona? If he were asking for advice on how to get the U.S. back on the Formula 1 tour schedule, he might be barking up the wrong tree, given NASCAR CEO Brian France's curt dismissal of suggestions by new Indy-car boss Randy Bernhard about Cup/Indy-car double-headers next season.
   Of course it would make good sense for Daytona to host any such F1 race – and if the France family were sharp, they might be able to get Formula 1 itself to pay for a redesigned infield road course at 'The World Center of Racing.' After all, the 24 Hours of Daytona is a world-class road race. F1 might make a nice addition to SpeedWeeks, wouldn't it?
   Meanwhile back in the NASCAR trenches, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards may have to settle whatever they started Saturday night. The two banged cars in the final miles of the 400 and then exchanged words in the garage.
    "Carl turned right after the start-finish line and completely destroyed our car," Busch complained, with the reverse of Edwards' claim.
    "We've seen him turn right before and destroy a Penske car at Atlanta with my teammate Brad Keselowski. 
    "That was unnecessary."
   Busch was in the thick of the 400 fight all night, and teammate Sam Hornish Jr. too, though Hornish ran out of luck too in the final miles, triggering a big crash.
   Busch concedes plate racing is, well, tough: "They're more like a crap shoot...you never know when your number is going to get pulled. 
   "I had a good run down the back straight, but not enough on Jeff Burton.  I gave him two moves; he gave me two blocks.  I lifted and got tapped from behind and got loose.
    "That's when that big wreck got started:  One guy checks up, and everybody comes in and piles on. 
    "I got tapped coming off turn four running in the high grove. Bowyer spun right in front of me; I didn't touch him. 
    "There's just action everywhere at the end of these races. 
    "It's Daytona....the asphalt is old, the tires have no grip.  People are going to be sliding around. 
    "When it comes down to 40 to go, that's when it amps up.  You could see it in everybody's eyes."
    Hornish tried to make a move to the middle of a three-wide: "I just ran out of room.
   "Kurt got a little bit loose in front of me (on the high side), and I tried to fill in on the bottom...and there just wasn't enough room at the exit of the turn."
   And Kurt's not the only Busch coming here hot. Better watch out for kid brother Kyle and Montoya, after Montoya KO'd Kyle while Kyle was leading midway.
   Kyle Busch was a bit sarcastic in his comments: "The replay shows I turned right across the nose of Montoya...so apparently I wanted to wreck myself."
   Then Kyle Busch got serious and tried to explain some of the intricacies of the draft here, how two cars side by side will try to 'suck' into each other.
    "Some people don't understand what happens in these cars," Kyle said.  "With the old tires (he was within two laps of pitting, while Montoya had already gotten new tires)  like that, I've got no grip.
    "I'm barely hanging on, sliding around out there. 
     "When his air was on my quarter-panel (and rear spoiler) like that, it just started turning my car down the straightaway...and I was going across the front of his nose -- and it was all air, without him hitting me."
   Then another jab: "I'm sure somehow it's my fault."
    Seriously...."The draft, when you're beside somebody like that, they can move you,"  Busch went on. "They have control of your car. 
   "He was too close to my side, and it started turning me sideways down the straightaway, without even touching me...just like I did to Denny (Hamlin, in Daytona practice).
   "I was out there on old tires, two laps away from pitting, and I was lapping Montoya, and trying to stay away from Denny -- he was low.
    "I didn't turn right to wreck myself.  Why would I do that?  That's dumb.  We had the fastest car out there....another year in Daytona being the fastest car...."
    The Busches aren't the only ones coming here nursing bruises. That big crash at the end of the 400 involved 20 cars, half the field.
    Marcos Ambrose was one of them: "I'm just sick of crashing, man.  It's just been a terrible year. 
    "I've had more hard licks this year than I've had in my whole career."
    What's it like, those few seconds before impact:  "I saw a little bit of smoke, and started to check up....but no avoiding it," Joey Logano lamented. "It's just straight ahead of me, and you're just along for the ride.
    "You see guys that about wrecked every lap.
    "I said at one point 'Man, I'm glad they're repaving this joint.'"
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   Just a little ding...compared to the rest of 'em. The hotest Ford in NASCAR is Kasey Kahne's.....and did they really put the wrong oil in his engine at Loudon? How else to explain a broken cam shaft..... (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Give me a break, Jeff Gordon went around Clint because Clint didn't go, he didn't cause Clint to wreck. Clint just about spun out Jeff after that so he got his so called retribution.Kurt Busch and others were in many questionable positions and causing wrecks on the track. I am so sick of media constantly focusing on Jeff, especially when so many others are doing the wrecking!

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