Fast Thoughts for May 24: NASCAR shines in All-Star Race; Kyle Busch isn’t losing his edge

May 24, 2018 GMT

1 Kudos to NASCAR for finding a winning mix with its rules changes for the All-Star Race. The combination of restrictor plates, larger spoilers and air ducts led to a much more enjoyable exhibition than recent years, and even many of the drivers seemed surprised they enjoyed it as much as they did. No doubt the use of restrictor plates is gimmicky, and one wouldn’t want to see them used at every 1½-mile stop throughout the season. (The finish at Kansas turned out pretty well with the regular rules, after all.) But there’s a lot of potential for waking up the sleeping spectators at Indianapolis, Charlotte and other tracks where the current rules package is lacking.

2 Even with a growing fan base, Kyle Busch is still going to do Kyle Busch. The younger Busch brother received a warm reception when he went into the crowd after winning the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway last month, only days after joining Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a tell-all podcast about their infamous wreck at that track a decade earlier. For anyone wondering if Kyle was getting soft, I wouldn’t worry about that. Shortly after finishing second in the Truck race at Charlotte on Friday, Busch was asked how he was able to rally from the back of the field. “Pure talent,” Busch told the media. “That’s about it. My pit crew did absolutely nothing to help me out tonight. My truck drove like (excrement).” For the record, Busch owns the team he was criticizing. That led to critics calling him out on Twitter, and to Busch’s credit, he met them head-on Saturday in a series of tweets. When one asked if Busch would like to service his own truck during pit stops, Busch threw in some free parenting advice, which everyone loves. “I’d be happy to do it. If those r the rules for everyone in the field, let’s rock it!! When u pay people to do a job, they either do it well or get fired. Teach that lesson to your kid so he stays employed his whole life.”

3 Around the state last weekend: The nonstop rain created havoc for drivers in the commonwealth, with most of the action being canceled. Find this week’s schedule at RacingVirginia.com. ... Fans can meet and greet the drivers at Southside Speedway before the action June 1 in Midlothian. There will be opportunities for autographs, photographs and Q&A sessions with drivers from six divisions: Late Models, Modifieds, Grand Stocks, Bandoleros, UCARs and Legends. The gates open and qualifying begins at 6 p.m., with the meet and greet at 7:15 and the action starting at 8.