Jay Busbee

  • Kyle Busch's victory unites families, caps a year of pain and triumph

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    HOMESTEAD, Fla. — As Kyle Busch ran the most important laps of his life, wheeling his No. 18 through turn after turn after turn, the most important people in his life gathered in his pit box, watching and waiting and praying.

    Gaye Busch, Kyle’s mother, stood alone underneath the box’s awning, earphones in her ears, listening in on Kyle’s radio channel. Joe Gibbs, Kyle’s team owner, paced a tight line next to the pit box, checking stats taped to the wall, checking the track, over and over again. Samantha Busch, Kyle’s wife, dressed more for an evening on South Beach than a night at the races, watched the laps wind down with tears in her eyes.

    Twenty laps remaining until NASCAR crowned its new champion. Kyle had opened up a several-second lead on the three other challengers for the championship. All around the pit box, cameras and onlookers had gathered. A few feet away, the throngs that had jammed the retiring Jeff Gordon’s pit stall all weekend had dissipated. Gordon’s story, as good as it was, was the past; Busch was the present and, perhaps, the future.

  • Martin Truex Jr.'s car catches fire in pit lane, he drives off in a hurry

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    HOMESTEAD, Fla.—There's a reason they tell you not to smoke anywhere near pit road at a NASCAR race.

    Martin Truex Jr., one of the four drivers in the hunt for a championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, had a heart-stopping moment roughly halfway through the race. While Truex was in for a routine pit stop, a random spark ignited the race fuel being pumped into his car. Both the car and the gas can nozzle burned, and Truex drove off in a hurry. His gas can holder tilted the can upward to keep more fuel from burning, and within moments the flame was a memory.

    Once again: NASCAR drivers, and their crews, are just a bit insane.

    ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter.

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  • Born of tragedy, Homestead Speedway has helped a city return

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    HOMESTEAD, Fla.—America’s highway system, for all practical purposes, ends about a mile from Homestead-Miami Speedway. The tunnel leading into the track bears the designation of “Southernmost Tunnel in the United States, 180 miles from Cuba.” The track sits in the middle of swampland, the runoff of the Everglades.

    The roads around the track, such as they are, stretch on perfect compass lines, meeting at right angles. Some are sun-bleached pavement, others are twin tire ruts plunging into the underbrush. Palm tree farms dot the territory around the Air Base and the track, advertising BLOW-OUT SALE in eight-foot-tall weatherbeaten letters.

    There is no earthy reason for a track to be here. And yet here it is, now 20 years on, the host of NASCAR’s championship hunt and an arena with one of the more fascinating backstories in American sports.

    In mid-August of 1992, a small storm system formed in the Atlantic. Meteorologists didn’t even bother naming it until August 22, and even then, Hurricane Andrew seemed to be one of the dozens of storms that sputter out in a spray of rain.

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  • Watch a guy set a world record, devouring 71 ribs in five minutes

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 3 days ago

    HOMESTEAD, Fla.—Matt Stonie devoured 71 ribs in five minutes on Sunday, which is impressive in part because Stonie doesn't look much bigger than a pork rib himself.  Here, watch:

    Watch Matt Stonie devour a ton of ribs, and keep your fingers away from his mouth. pic.twitter.com/FuF5jnppai

    As part of a Smithfield "Whole Hog Challenge" promotion, Stonie powered through nearly six dozen ribs with the determined bearing of an MMA fighter, twisting the meat off the bone, devouring it in four bites per rib, following every few ribs with a gulp of water, and stopping every dozen or so to jump up and down and settle the meat in his stomach. Richard Petty, the winningest driver in NASCAR history, looked on, an unreadable grin on his face.

    Stonie, nicknamed "Megatoad," powered through the ribs as Sam Barclay, the carnival barker-esque emcee of Major League Eating, rallied the crowd. Aric Almirola, who now drives the Smithfield 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports, smiled and shook his head in disbelief.

    PODCAST: Jeff Gordon ends his career; NASCAR championship preview:

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  • Denny Hamlin wins the final pole of the season at Homestead

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 4 days ago

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    HOMESTEAD, Fla.—The final qualifying round of the 2015 season, and of Jeff Gordon's career, ended with a mild surprise: Gordon qualifying second among the four drivers hunting for the 2015 Sprint Cup championship.

    Denny Hamlin—"Mr. Irrelevant," as he dubbed himself—won the pole. Gordon, after struggling early in the first round, managed to fight his way up to fifth. Kyle Busch will start third, Martin Truex Jr. will start 11th, and Kevin Harvick will start 13th.

    "Sitting back here and watching Jeff talk and everything, it's like, man, you know, I thought about it before, but I didn't think about like how awesome it would be [for Hamlin] to win his final race," Hamlin said. "No disrespect to him, but man, that would be awesome to win his final race. I hope he finishes third behind Kyle."

    PODCAST: Previewing Jeff Gordon's final race and the NASCAR finale:

    ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter.

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  • Kenseth, Logano finally meet to clear air at Homestead

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 4 days ago

    HOMESTEAD, Fla.—The last time Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano were in close proximity, Logano was riding Kenseth's bumper right into the Turn 1 wall at Martinsville. Logano still had championship hopes, and Kenseth was racing in his 571st consecutive race dating back to early 2000.

    Three weeks later, Logano is out of the championship hunt. Kenseth's consecutive-starts streak is now at zero. Their feud, which divided NASCAR fans, drivers, and officials, has faded into the background of a championship chase and a retirement celebration. But is their fight truly over?

    Perhaps. "I think everything will be fine there," Kenseth said in a story first reported by the AP. "I mean, I wish none of it had happened, obviously. There's probably certain things we'll never agree on, but I think long-term it will be fine and we'll work it out."

    PODCAST: Jeff Gordon retirement celebration, Homestead preview:

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  • NFL sees record number of long pass TDs: good offense or terrible defense?

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 8 days ago

    You probably already know this if you've checked your fantasy scores, but the NFL recorded a record number of 75-plus-yard passing touchdowns on Sunday—six, to be exact. (Hopefully some were for your team and none for your opponent's.) Big plays are dramatic, big plays ignite or deflate the crowd, big plays get the highlight commentators whooping ... but why did we see so many all at once?

    The New York Timesran down the list of big passing plays, a list which doesn't even include Adrian Peterson's 80-yard run:

    • An 85-yarder by Chicago's Zach Miller against St. Louis;

    • An 88-yarder by fellow Bear Jeremy Langford;

    • A 78-yarder by Washington's Matt Jones;

    • An 80-yarder by Kansas City's Charcandrick West against Denver;

    • An 87-yarder by New York's Odell Beckham Jr. against New England; and

    • A 76-yarder by the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski against the Giants.

    Listen to Yahoo Sports' Grandstanding podcast for more NFL coverage:

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  • Arizona defeats Seattle, but nobody still has any idea what a catch is

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 9 days ago

    Go find a football. Hold it with two hands. Take one step, then another, then another. Then throw the ball through your television screen because that's the only way you're not going to lose your mind at the way officiating, and in particular the definition of a catch, is going these days.

    In Sunday night's matchup of NFC West hopefuls, Arizona defeated Seattle 39-32, but we'll get to that in a bit. First, let's talk about what constitutes a catch. At this point, a receiver apparently needs to adopt a ball, put it through college and walk it down the aisle in order to establish possession. Take, for instance, the bang-bang play in the second quarter in which Cardinals tight end Daniel Fells appeared to catch the ball, turn, and take a step before the ball was stripped from him.

    Why are we here? Blame technology. The fact that cameras can now slow replays to the point of being able to watch a player's fingernails grow during a play means that it's easier to determine the precise point at which a player starts to lose control of a ball. More information gives more ability for officials to dissect, and dismiss, virtually every remotely controversial catch.

  • Brett Favre congratulates Peyton Manning from a deer stand

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 9 days ago

    (Click on image to play video)

    It was a day with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for Peyton Manning. On the same afternoon he set the NFL's career passing yardage record, he got benched after an ugly, unproductive first half.

    Huge yardage numbers bracketed by back-breaking interceptions? Why, that sounds like someone else we know! Speak of the Ol' Gunslinger, and the Gunslinger appears: Brett Favre, the man whose yardage record Manning broke. Naturally, Favre is up in a deer stand somewhere, and he whispered his congratulations to Manning with an adminition to go for "all" of Favre's records.

    "All"? What could he mean by ... oh, wait. That one.

    Listen to Yahoo Sports' Grandstanding podcast for more NFL coverage:

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  • Aaron Rodgers calls out fan for 'prejudicial' comment during moment of silence

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 9 days ago

    Across the NFL, teams recognized Friday's tragedy in Pariswith a moment of silence. Normally, such moments are a bit of calm in an otherwise chaotic NFL Sunday, an opportunity for those with insight and empathy to recognize how lucky they are to be alive, in America, at an NFL game. But, of course, moments of silence also give idiots that much more room to vent their stupidity, and one fan at Sunday's Green Bay-Detroit game did just that.

    Speaking after the game, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers addressed the value of the moment of silence, and then called out one unnamed fan:

    Rodgers with commenting at the end about the moment of silence, fan in stands who said something prejudicial. pic.twitter.com/mZJkKJf0Ii

    "I must admit I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was that made a comment that was very inappropriate during the moment of silence," Rodgers said. "It's that kind of prejudicial ideology that puts us in the position we're in today as a world."