Chase Elliott starting on a path Kyle Busch has walked NASCAR Saturday schedule at Phoenix Raceway Drivers discuss what Phoenix race could be like with new aero package Saturday Phoenix Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather NASCAR Friday schedule at Phoenix Raceway
Kyle Bush was one of the first members of the NASCAR community to contact Chase Elliott after a Georgia rider was injured in a snowboarding accident ahead of a Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Elliott underwent surgery for a fractured tibia, which caused him to miss last Sunday’s race in Las Vegas and start an absence that will stretch for several weeks.
MORE: Dale Jr. ‘Delighted’ Josh Berry Gets Second Chance in Chase Elliott’s Car
Bush said he wanted to cheer Elliot up and offer him any advice or help he might need.
Bush knows this road all too well.
On the 111th lap of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway in 2015, Busch was involved in a multi-car crash. His car crashed into the inner wall at the end of the front section at almost full speed.
The crash looked significantly worse than a normal crash when the car hit a wall in Dayton, and it really is. Bush broke his right leg and fractured his left foot and was taken to a district hospital for surgery.
The Daytona 500, the first race of the Cup Series season, was scheduled to take place the next day, and Busch apparently didn’t show up. Recovering and then rehabilitated, he missed the first 11 races of the season.
Busch won a total of 25 Cup races in the previous seven seasons, but never won a championship. And some wrote off his chances in 2015 hours after the Dayton crash, saying the severity of his injuries would make it difficult to compete when he was finally able to race again.
As on many other occasions over the years, Bush silenced the doubters by winning his fifth points race (at Sonoma), scoring three more wins before the playoffs and entering the top 30 in points—then NASCAR’s requirement to reach the playoffs, finishing second at Watkins Glen in his 11th run.
He then made it through the playoffs to win the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his first championship title.
Elliot is in the same territory now, with one big exception. Entering this season, NASCAR removed the requirement for a driver to be in the top 30 in points in order to qualify for the playoffs. Elliott’s victory in any Cup race, when he returns, will most likely take him to the playoffs.
The extent of Elliott’s injury is unknown. Hendrick Motorsports described it as a broken tibia and said it took three hours to repair the injury. Elliot was released from the hospital the next day.
Significant leg injuries typically result in drivers standing in the parking lot for at least one, sometimes three months. Although Elliott’s recovery and rehabilitation may take longer or less than expected. If he returns to race April 23 at Talladega, that would give him 18 regular season races to win the playoff qualifying race.
This is certainly enough for an experienced winner to take at least one checkered flag, but it remains true that Elliott will have significantly less time to record a victory, and that he is unlikely to feel comfortable in a race car, even when he will return. .
Former NBC Sports NASCAR driver and analyst Kyle Petty said Elliott could make a significant contribution to the team during his rehab period.
“Even with a broken leg, you can sit in the simulator,” Petty said on the NASCAR On NBC podcast. “Even with a broken leg, you can view the data. You can break the race. Perhaps over time this will make you a better team. Perhaps Chase will have the opportunity to lead and direct them, and later put them in a different position.
Petty said Elliott’s success makes it clear that he shouldn’t have a problem increasing his winning total when he returns.
“I think he can come back and get in that car and get out and win,” he said. “We know he can win races. Just like we knew Kyle Busch. We’re talking about Hendrik’s car and a driver who can struggle week after week. Even if you give him only six tries to win the race, he has a chance at all six of them, unlike some other teams who only get one chance.”
Elliott is 27 years old. Bush was 29 at the time of the injury. After returning to the all-star race, Busch’s next race was the series’ longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He completed all 400 laps and finished 11th. He finished 36th at Dover, ninth at Pocono and 43rd at Michigan before winning at Sonoma.
In the shortened season, Busch still had numbers that most riders would consider great: five wins, 12 top fives and 16 top 10s. And, of course, the championship.
Some have given up the title to Bush because he was unable to play the entire season. He ignored this comment. “We did and did our job according to the rules that we were given, and we achieved,” he told reporters. “It doesn’t bother me. I don’t care. The trophy is in my shop. So no one can take that away from me.”
Elliott would probably have taken the same approach to equipment.
NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series drivers will take to Phoenix Raceway on Saturday.
Qualifying for Sunday’s 312-mile Cup race, the first for NASCAR’s new short track aero package, is scheduled for 2:05 pm ET Saturday.
Xfinity riders will practice at 12:35 pm ET and qualify at 1:05 pm ET. The 200-mile Xfinity race, fourth of the season, is scheduled for 4:30 pm ET.
Chase Briscoe (March) and Joey Logano (November) won the Series Cup race in Phoenix last year.
Saturday: Sun and clouds mixed. Maximum 81. Wind 10-20 m/s.
Saturday, March 11
(All time Eastern)
- 8:30 – 16:00 – Series of Cups
- 10:30 a.m. — Xfinity series opens.
- 12:35 – 13:05 – Xfinity Series workout (FS1)
- 13:05 – 14:00 – Xfinity Series Qualifier (FS1)
- 14:05 – 15:30 – Cup Series Qualifier (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
- 4:30 pm Xfinity Series Race (200 laps, 200 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Avondale, Arizona. Opinions vary, but riders are hoping the new aero package debuting this weekend will make it easier to overtake Sunday’s Cup race at Phoenix Raceway.
NASCAR cut the spoiler from 4 inches to 2 inches and made changes to the bottom of the car to reduce downforce. The changes tested at this track in January will be used on most short tracks and all road races.
Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap on Friday at 131.258 mph. He was followed Ryan Blaney (131.105 mph) and Alex Bowman (130.724) Joey Logano (130.586) and Chase Briscoe (130.270). Josh Berry (128.986) took 23rd place, replacing the injured Chase Elliott. Saturday qualifying.
On Friday night, NASCAR announced that it had removed the blinds and hood vents from all four Hendrick Motorsports vehicles after practice. There will be no fees this weekend. If there are fines, then next week. NASCAR saw a potential problem with the blinds before practice, discussed it during practice, and confiscated the parts after practice.
MORE: Dr. Diandra analyzes kit for Cup short track speed skating
MORE: Phoenix Cup Practice Results
Denny Hamlin said after Friday practice that he noticed a change in passing cars.
“I think they did a really good job of getting some grip on the car,” he said of NASCAR.
Hamlin, who was 19th on the speed chart, said he was “looking forward” to Sunday’s race and that he thought it would be easier to complete than last year’s race. Hamlin also warned of unrealistic expectations for this weekend.
“I don’t want everyone to be crazy excited, and then if the race is a dream book, sometimes it is, but …