Kyle Busch Calls Emphasis on Fuel-Saving Races on NASCAR Superspeedways ‘Disgraceful, Pathetic’

Jackson Wheeler
8 Min Read


  • Fuel saving strategy in the superspeedway races has existed for years, but no one talked about it because the entire field wasn’t doing it.
  • Now, because everything is an open book and NASCAR has placed the cars in such a tight box more teams have adopted it.
  • Brad Keselowski said he didn’t understand why his fellow competitors were so upset about the fuel saving strategy employed during the Daytona 500.

If you thought the Daytona 500 was slower than normal, you weren’t imagining it.

The fuel saving strategy employed by the teams during the season opener caused a slower-paced race that Kyle Bush described as “pathetic.”

“I felt disgraceful myself as a race car driver wanting to go fast and lead laps and win the Daytona 500,” Busch said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “(Saving fuel) was our strategy that we had to employ at the start of the race because everybody was doing (it).”

Chase Elliott said the fuel saving strategy in the superspeedway races had existed for two years, but no one talked about it because the entire field wasn’t doing it. Now, because everything is an open book and NASCAR has placed the cars in such a tight box more teams have adopted it. Saving fuel during the race means a shorter time on pit road when refueling occurs, and that translates into positions gained on the track.

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Future NASCAR Hall of Famer Kyle Busch is no fan of the direction Cup Series racing is going these days on superspeedways.

Busch describes it as a “leapfrog strategy.”

“Everybody is so much the same, it’s hard to be different,” Elliott says. “That’s the product you get when we are all buying the same parts and pieces and doing the same stuff. You put the teams in a tough position to be race teams, because it’s their job to try to find an advantage somewhere, some way, somehow. You’re just so limited with the car; you’re reaching and grasping for any little advantage you can get. I’m not surprised it got to the point it did, but limiting time on pit road is a premium.”

Due to the fuel saving strategy, Busch said they were running half throttle at the start of the Daytona 500.

“When you’re running wide open and you’re in a draft, your pace is probably at 46.30. We were running 49.80 seconds, almost 50-second lap times,” Busch says. “It was pathetic. I was like, ‘How slow are we gonna go?’ That’s not racing. That’s riding. Doing what we did last week, you might as well pull the cars out of the parking lot and run rental cars around.

“I felt bad for the fans. This is not good for them. It’s not what I wanted to be doing. The third lane could have developed. Somebody could have just pulled out into the outside lane and literally just ran to the front and done whatever the heck they wanted to do. I was surprised nobody did that.”

“The cars are still running side-by-side. It’s just another tactic.”

Corey LaJoie said he didn’t like working to get the lead and then getting yelled at by his crew chief because he burned too much fuel.

“So, what do I do? Let six or seven guys go by me, so I can ride at 60%? No,” LaJoie says. “But I understand that’s kind of the game that’s presented right now with everybody as equal as it is and you want to be on pit road or in your box the least amount of time possible to leapfrog the guys you’re in front of.”

Ryan Blaney said the fuel strategy that was employed in the Daytona 500 was “over the top ridiculous.”

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Corey Lajoie says his crew chief was telling him to kick it down a notch, even when he was fighting to get the lead, in an effort to save fuel.

Blaney says he has saved fuel leading a superspeedway race and been able to control it.

“I think in the fall race in 2022 at Talladega, I was leading, saving a bunch of gas and we were able to still maintain where we were at with me and the (No.) 10 (Aric Almirola) how we got on each other and pushed each other,” Blaney says. “I can save fuel up front and make pace, and I can save fuel in the back and try to make pace.”

Brad Keselowski said he didn’t understand why his fellow competitors were so upset about the fuel saving strategy employed during the Daytona 500.

“The cars are still running side-by-side. It’s just another tactic,” Keselowski says. “You didn’t have to save fuel. There was nobody sitting in the car shocking you if you didn’t save fuel. It’s just an evolution of tactics.”

Joey Logano, who led the most laps in the Daytona 500, says the fuel saving strategy adds a different storyline to superspeedway racing.

“There’s that first stage where we’re going to so slow that everyone behind us was about to be able to bridge it to where they didn’t have to pit,” Logano says. “At that point, we took off and left. To me, it was like Tour de France … Peloton or whatever they call it, a couple of runners take off … they’re trying to drag the pack along, get them up to speed.

“Some restarts last week, if you went for it, you could go from the back to the front really, really quick. If everyone’s saving fuel, you could kind of catch them off guard a little bit.”

Logano describes it as a “different strategy … a different way of racing.”

“The further back you are, the more fuel you could save, but the less control you have,” Logano says. “You can’t control the speed of the pack, so you’re kind of at the mercy of what’s going on in front of you.

“It’s still a race. It’s just a different way of doing it.”

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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