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Busch vs Busch: Standing room only?


King Kong at Bristol: But can Kyle Busch beat brother Kurt this weekend? (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)


   By Mike Mulhern

   BRISTOL, Tenn.
   Busch versus Busch! Hey, now if that doesn't sell tickets…
   So who's your money on: Kyle Busch, the hot driver here at Jeff Byrd's lightning-fast half-mile the last few years….or older brother Kurt, who used to dominate this track, and who is starting off 2009 red-hot.
   After a cold couple of seasons Kurt Busch looks like the man to beat, and he comes here fresh off that dominating performance at Atlanta.
   Kurt Busch has Penske-power under the hood, and that new Dodge engine, after more than a year of development, may finally be ready for prime time. And if the Dodge guys got it right, Kurt Busch may have more downforce on the nose of his car, and downforce there has been key to winning on the Sprint Cup tour lately.
    However Kyle Busch led 415 of the 500 laps here last summer; and teammates Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin led 365 of the 500 in the spring – so clearly the Joe Gibbs operation has the hot setup for this place.
   Since repaving – or, rather, re-concreting – this track the racing has changed dramatically. Whether it's been for the better or not, is still being debated. But drivers love the new layout, because they don't have to bump-and-grind their way through traffic.
   "Your driving style has had to change, a lot," Kyle Busch says.
   "Bristol used to be a track where you could charge the corners, get it right in and down to the bottom of the track. You would go through the middle of the corner, and then slingshot out on the exits. 
    "Now it's just so smooth that you're 'easy in,' 'easy through the center,'  and 'easy off.'
   "The track is a little slower than I think it was because they reduced some banking in order to put sort of the progressive banking into it to make the outside groove better for the fans. 
   "The fans don't like it because we don't bump each other out of the way as much, and spin each other out anymore, to try to make a pass.  We're actually able to race side-by-side and not hit each other. 
   "To me Bristol is a fun track now. I think it's better."

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