Two months ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr predicted the Homestead caution – Kyle Busch says it was because he had a 12 second lead
In recent months, NASCAR hasn’t been abrupt to throw the yellow. Instead, they’ve been letting the races play out naturally.
Since June, this has been the case. NASCAR came under fire from Dale Earnhardt Jr and Tony Stewart after multiple debris cautions at Michigan.
“It’s a shame that so many drivers and teams day was ruined by the results of another ‘debris’ caution towards the end of the race today,” stated Tony Stewart after Michigan International Speedway.
For several months, they did just that. They even caught praise from the very drivers who were critical of the trigger happy cautions. The phantom debris caution all but disappeared.
Until Richmond, when NASCAR threw a trigger happy caution for a brake lockup. Then, at the end of the race, threw another caution for a car 15 laps down, as he barely scraped the wall. It created a shootout in the final race before the playoff’s. After dominating, Martin Truex Jr was caught up in a late race incident with Denny Hamlin.
Kurt Busch Spin
Homestead Caution 2017
Kyle Busch was leading the final race at Homestead. The race was quickly coming to a close. A champion was about to be crowned, the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup would soon be transitioned to it’s new owner.
With 52 to go, Kyle Busch pitted. Kyle Busch’s 20 second lead was erased but he was charging through the field when exiting the pits. As soon as Martin Truex Jr would hit the pits, he would have cycled back to the lead. But, that never happened as the pit cycle was interrupted.
Ironically, Kyle’s brother Kurt Busch, spun off turn 4. Ku Busch quickly gathered it back up. Then, Kurt began coasting on the apron en route to the pit lane as he left debris on the infield turn 4 grass.
The spin was over, Kurt Busch was nearly on pit road. That’s when the caution flag dropped on the race. The reason for the caution wasn’t debris, it was a spin in turn 4. NASCAR created a shootout race for the championship. Entertainment gold, for everyone involved, except Kyle Busch who was running 3rd at the time.
From a fans perspective, we all knew they were going to throw that caution, given any opportunity to do so. And, it did make the race more entertaining. But, at the same time, that race didn’t play out naturally.
In fact, it likely resulted in a different winner all together. It can never be known for certain, Kyle Busch would have probably won that race without the late caution. Instead, Martin Truex Jr went on the claim the win and the title after the caution erased the pit gamble game and put everyone back on the same strategy.
Dale Earnhardt Jr predicted the Homestead caution, months ago
All the way back in September, Dale Jr predicted a bullshit Homestead caution. Dale Earnhardt Jr says it happens in ‘important races’ and Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t just predict the caution. He also predicted the streak of races that ‘let it play out’ leading up to Homestead.
“I think they get a little trigger happy with the cautions. Long green flag runs, we [drivers] aren’t creating cautions out there. So, NASCAR’s looking for opportunities to throw the yellow. In those situations, they just kinda get a little trigger happy.”
I think you might not see much of that, going forward, until Homestead.
-Dale Earnhardt Jr
“It’s definitely questionable. I think you might not see much of that, going forward, until Homestead. It’s in these big races. It’s like they know they have so many people paying attention.”
Kyle Busch comments on Homestead caution
Kyle Busch was on the ‘stay out’ strategy. While the rest of the field made two pit stops to conclude the final run, Kyle Busch was going to do it in just a single stop.
It was probably going to work. But, it was gamble against the late race caution flag, which he lost on lap 229 of 267.
“Yeah, it did cost us track position,” Kyle Busch told reporters. “But, I was all for it. The last couple nights, we’ve seen NASCAR leave it green. They let ’em race it out.”
I guess when you’re gunna win by 12 seconds or somethin’
“So, I thought that was gunna be the strategy. But, I guess when you’re gunna win by 12 seconds or somethin’ then you better get a caution when you can get one. I don’t know if there was really stuff out there. I didn’t see anything out there.”
“I don’t know what was the leading cause to throwing the caution. But, it’s always inevitable, it’s always gunna happen. So, I guess we just didn’t think of it and it bit us.”
If I don’t retire first.
As Kyle Busch walked out of the media center, the moderator said ‘Congrats on the great season. We’ll see you in Daytona.’ Kyle Busch responded by saying, “If I don’t retire first.”
It sounded like a joke. Though, maybe I’m wrong and Kyle was just that upset. Or maybe it was some kind of threat. I have no idea.
You can be the judge, the video is below.