Las Vegan Kurt Busch credits Phil Hayes for success

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Kurt Busch was finally able to celebrate last year’s NASCAR playoff victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with his hometown fans.

It happened Tuesday at the South Point showroom in front of a few hundred people, a few hundred more than what saw him claim his first LVMS victory in 22 starts. His decisive victory came in front of empty stands due to COVID restrictions.

It wasn’t a true victory celebration, as state health codes prevented Busch from having a smoky burnout outside the Coronado Cafe. Truth be told, his presence was mostly focused on collecting tickets for next month’s NASCAR South Point 400 weekend at LVMS.

But the pit stop allowed the NASCAR champion to mingle with local racing fans and offer a few more thanks to those from his Las Vegas past who were instrumental in launching a career that shows little sign of slowing down, although Busch was 43. this month.

Like Phil Hayes, a former track champion at former Craig Road Speedway, who would be a perfect contender for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NBC documentary series “Lost Speedways” if anything was left.

“When I destroyed three races in a row my dad sent me to see the ‘Mad Hatter’,” Busch said backstage at South Point, alluding to the top hat Hayes wore on the track. before Busch started winning races. “He said, ‘Son, why do you keep getting into a shipwreck position?’ “

Remember it was 16-year-old Kurt Busch. If you thought he was determined to climb the ranks of NASCAR, you should have seen him then, he said.

“OK, thanks, great advice, of course,” he said of his first sarcastic reaction to meeting Hayes. “Years later, that’s what still helps me today, 22 years after the start of the Cup Series. Phil Hayes, the “Mad Hatter”. Las Vegas. It should be on Mt. Rushmore (from runners from Las Vegas).

Hayes, now 75, was understandably flattered when he learned of Busch’s remarks.

“He was young and fast – it’s easier to slow a driver down than to speed one up,” said the former Sport Class champion, who also raced sprint cars and built race engines – when he was younger, Hayes hung out in stores in Southern California. guys who built engines for Indy 500 roadsters.

“This is where my experience comes from and I have always tried to pass it on,” he said.

“Kurt was one of the guys who listened.”

Around the horn

– As they say on radio and TV, there are still good seats left for the South Point 400 NASCAR playoff race on September 26 and the Truck and Xfinity Series races this Friday and Saturday, and an ARCA Menards Series West race Thursday. For tickets, go to https://www.lvms.com/tickets/ or call 1-800-644-4444.

– Molly Sullivan of Green Valley High, who spent 14 years as a sports reporter, primarily in the NBA and NFL in Philadelphia, returned home to serve in community relations for the Clark County Commissioner (and former player Gorman Basketball Player Ross Miller.

According to sources, the former 2000 North Carolina and US Olympic Trials qualifier in the 800-meter freestyle can still move from one end of the pool to the other almost faster than you can. say Katie Ledecky.

– How far has the UNLV fallen off the radar of conference expansion? In a story about the Big 12 trying to stay relevant after Texas and Oklahoma left, Yahoo mentioned six schools as possible replacements. The rebels weren’t mentioned, of course, but the state of North Dakota was.

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Max Pacioretty bought the 8,321-square-foot Summerlin mansion from Golden Knights teammate Alex Pietrangelo for $ 6.4 million this month, which we can assume is one of those trades that works for both parties.

If there were guest quarters for rising star Nick Suzuki, who was traded to Montreal (with Tomas Tatar) in 2018 for Pacioretty, VGK fans might also welcome the deal.

Contact Ron Kantowski at [email protected] or 702-383-0352. To follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.



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