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Kyle Busch Wins at Gateway

As the Sun faded into the night sky from the motorsport’s world biggest weekend, the biggest headline for the weekend was Josef Newgarden winning his first Indianapolis 500. The big headline for NASCAR was Ryan Blaney finally ending his 59-race winless streak. This winless streak dated back to August 2021 in Daytona. Blaney finally got the monkey off of his back by winning the Coca-Cola 600. NASCAR would head northwest from Charlotte to the city of St. Louis to make their stop at Gateway. Once again, all eyes were on Ryan Blaney. This could be a great chance for Blaney to show that he has his confidence back. But after Gateway, all eyes are on a different Cup Series veteran.

A Dominant Performance for Busch:

When it was announced that Kyle Busch was going to race for Richard Childress starting in 2023, nobody knew what to expect. It could have either been the beginning of the end for Kyle Busch or the revitalization of Kyle Busch. From 2020 through 2022, Busch had only won four races. From 2017 through 2019, Busch won 18 races, which is equal to 25% of races in that period. But it’s safe to say that nobody expected Kyle Busch to be this good when he went to Richard Childress Racing. Right from the start of the season, Busch has had a shot to win most races. Busch could’ve and probably should have won the Daytona 500 but lost out in overtime. Busch did go on and win the next race at Fontana for his first win of the season.

A few weeks later, Busch would go on to win at Talladega. With his spot already secured in the playoffs, the average fan would think that Busch would let the field fight for wins. Absolutely not. This is Kyle Busch we’re talking about. Kyle Busch knows nothing else but win or bust. Busch came into St. Louis this past weekend on a high after winning the pole for the race. Busch would lead 121 laps throughout the race, the most of any driver. There would also be several late cautions that Busch would have to overcome, but it was no problem for the two-time Cup Series champion. This win was Busch’s 63rd career win, the third of the season, and the first at Gateway. Only time will tell to see how many more races Busch can win throughout the season.

Problems Throughout the Race:

As previously said, there were several late-race restarts that were very chaotic. But the big deal from all this chaos was the several brake rotor issues throughout the day. Early in the race, Carson Hocevar, who was making his Cup Series debut, had a brake rotor explode in turn one, which caused him to hit the way. Hocevar made his way up to 16th before the lap 91 incident. One incident, no big deal. Then with 66 laps to go, Tyler Reddick pounded the wall after a brake rotor failure. Two incidents with brakes, a little concerning. With 43 laps to go, Noah Gragson slammed the wall very hard on the driver’s side after another brake failure. Gragson would walk away under his own power. With three wrecks from the same problem, the level of concern is starting to increase.

As of Thursday, this week, it was announced that Gragson would miss the next race due to concussion-like symptoms. This is the third time that a driver has missed at least one race due to a concussion in the last year and a half. Then, as the race seemed that it was finally coming to an end, with five laps to go, Bubba Wallace got into the wall with another brake rotor failure. That’s four brake failures throughout the race. What is concerning about this, is that there were no brake failures in the 2022 race at Gateway. Gateway is a unique track with fast straightaways and heavy braking corners. This is an issue with the track, not the car. However, where the Cup Series is heading next also requires heavy braking.

What to Expect from Sonoma:

This coming weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series is heading to Sonoma, California. Sonoma is a very technical road course that requires heavy braking as well as full concentration from the drivers. In years past, the road course aces have been known to shine at Sonoma. But every once in a while, there’s a surprise winner from Sonoma. Last year, Daniel Suarez willed his way to his first Cup Series victory. A historic victory for the Mexican native. Another driver to bet on would be Kyle Larson. Larson, a California native, won the 2021 race in Sonoma, en route to his first championship. But if there is one driver to have an eye on, it would be Daniel Suarez. The Mexican native has not won since his 2022 Sonoma victory, but this coming Sunday is a great opportunity for Suarez.

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