Strap In By Big Bigelow: Kyle Busch Fined For Violations At Darlington Raceway

Jason Corliss (66) and Christopher Pelkey (64) appear to be headed to a showdown at Thunder Road, Friday Sept. 17. (Photo by Alan Ward)

The NASCAR press release read: “Kyle Busch has been penalized for his actions after a mid-race wreck in Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, NASCAR announced Tuesday.

“The pilot of the No. 18 Toyota Camry violated Sections 12.1.a; 12.5.2.5.a; 12.8.a of the NASCAR Rule Book and has been fined $50,000 for a safety violation, actions detrimental to stock car racing and violating the NASCAR member conduct guidelines.

“Busch’s car made significant contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 2 after lap 125 contact from the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of non-playoff driver Austin Dillon. Busch drove away with heavy damage but parked in the garage to end his race. While pulling into the garage area, Busch ran over several orange cones at a considerable amount of speed in the vicinity of spectators.”

NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller talked with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Tuesday morning about Busch’s behavior.

“It was a situation that could have been bad. Fortunately nobody got hit or anything like that,” Miller said. “It all worked out, but putting people in harm’s way for no reason is something we take seriously.”

• Biggy note: If you’re a Kyle Busch hater do us both a favor and skip down to the next topic.

I’d like to point out no fans sitting in their seats, where they belong, in the grandstands, were ever in harm’s way.

I read somewhere the cones were there to indicate where the cameras used for timing and scoring were located and never intended to protect any people from a 3,500-pound car.

Sure, he was going a tad fast but get the fans off pit road and out of the garage area. There is a reason it’s against the law for getting out and standing by your car on the interstate. It’s dangerous and people can get killed out there. If you’re broke down, get out and get as far away from your car as you can before you make a call.

Had Kyle Bigelow been driving that car, or there were no cones there, this would be a non-issue.

ACT Late Model Tour

Brooks Clark took the lead from Derek O’Donnell with 23 laps remaining in the 43rd Optical Expressions Berlin Labor Day Classic 200, September 5, and never gave it up to bank the $5,000 top prize that came with the victory.

Clark won the Community Bank N.A. 150 on Thunder Road’s opening day giving him the sweep of the Tour races at The Road in 2021.

• The ACT Late Model Tour next stops at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park September 26 at 1 p.m. The $5,000-to-win Fall Foliage 200 caps two days of racing that also includes the $5,000-to-win R&R Raceparts Street Stock Open, NELCAR Legends and Bandoleros, White Mountain’s weekly divisions, and the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors.

Thunder Road

If the weather cooperated last night (September 10) Thunder Road ran their next to last point-counting event. My deadline is before the races are done.

Championship Night for all four divisions is scheduled for September 17.

Jason Corliss, despite his last-place finish on double-point night (Christopher Pelkey won that night), was 25 points better than Pelkey going into last night’s races.

• If Corliss holds on, he’ll become only the third Late Model driver to win three straight “King of the Road” titles. The other two are Chuck Beede and Derrick O’Donnell.

• Only 10 drivers get an invite to the year-end Banquet of Champions. Trampas Demers has climbed to third but only has a seven-point edge over Tyler Cahoon. Meanwhile, fifth-place Kyle Pembroke is just 30 points ahead of 11th-place Chip Grenier.

• Late Model points with two events to go, before last night: 1. Jason Corliss 873, 2. Christopher Pelkey 848, 3. Trampas Demers 789, 4. Tyler Cahoon 782, 5. Kyle Pembroke 760, 6. Marcel J. Gravel 758, 7. Stephen Donahue 757, 8. Brendan Moodie 748, 9. Matthew Smith 740, 10. Brandon Lanphear 731, 11. Chip Grenier 730.

• With his win on August 26, Corliss now holds the Late Model record for most “weekly” feature wins in a season at The Road with five. Four point-counting wins had previously been accomplished nine times by eight different drivers: Phil Scott 1999, Brian Hoar 1999, Dave Whitcomb 2000, Cris Michaud 2004 and 2008, John Donahue 2010, Nick Sweet 2012, Derek O’Donnell 2015 and Scott Dragon 2019.

• Corliss did technically win five Late Model features in 2020, but two of them (Community Bank N.A. 150 and the Milk Bowl were non-point events.

FLYING TIGERS – Fourteen Flying Tiger features have produced 12 different winners so far this season.

• Stephen Martin and his Dad Mike are fighting for the Tiger title. Dad has 936 points, six better than Stephen. Derrick Calkins is still in the hunt with 880 points.

The Martins have been one-two in the standings since the Mid-season Championships, July 22. Mike took the point lead back from Stephen at last Sunday’s Labor Day Classic.

STREETS – Kaiden Fisher is on the verge of becoming the youngest track champion (in any division) in Thunder Road history. Fisher will be 13 years, 356 days old on Championship Night. Fisher has 1,031 points while Kyler Davis has 988. This would obliterate the record set by Stephen Martin in 2018 when he won the Street Stock title at age 16.

Fisher drives a red and yellow No. 18 sponsored by SD Ireland. He’s made four starts at White Mountain in a Tiger car, he has one top 5 and three top 10s there.

Both cars have the same paint scheme, which his dad Jamie ran for many years. Anytime Jamie drove through the pit gate he was a threat to win. He’s the 2003 King of the Road, has 14 main event wins at Thunder Road and four ACT Late Model Tour wins.

WMMP

With two point-counting races remaining for the Late Models, Jimmy Renfrew Jr. leads Jeff Marshall by 25 points and eight-time champ Quinny Welch by 33.

The two events are regular events with no extra laps. The bonus points-paying semis will be a factor I believe. The dates are September 11 and 18.

PASS

• POINTS: 1. Johnny Clark 1,866, 2. Scott McDaniel 1,789, 3. Dan Winter 1,746, 4. Ben Rowe 1,734, 5. Kate Re 1,730, 6. Joey Doiron 1,690, 7. Rowland Robinson 1,662, 8. Anthony Constantino 1,620, 9. DJ Shaw 1,551, 10. Justin Larsen 1,211.

• Next up is WMMP, September 18.

Bear Ridge

• SEPTEMBER 11: Sponsored by Pellerin Automotive the night’s activities will feature the DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, DIRTcar Sportsman Coupes, USAC DMA Midgets, Limited Late Models, Dirt Stocks the Four Cylinders.

The 2021 season is quickly coming to a close with only three shows left on the schedule. Post time is 6 p.m.

Until Next Week

Between just you and me … You aren’t really dumb enough to think your favorite driver NEVER causes the wreck they’re involved in. It won’t be long and the pit gates will be locked up for more than half a calendar year.

So get out and support a local short track. But remember: “If you’re not having fun, stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”

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