Drivers Sandbagging In Practice? Kyle Busch Doesn't See The Point

During Friday's practice sessions, there was speculation several drivers "sandbagged" by intentionally recording slow practice speeds.

Since the qualifying order is now set in the opposite order of practice speeds – slowest to fastest – sandbagging could potentially have an impact on the competition.

But the whole thing was a bit confusing. On a day forecasted to be cloudy and cool, why would a driver prefer to go earlier in a qualifying session than later?

Don't ask Kyle Busch. He doesn't know, either.

"I don't know why you would (sandbag)," he said. "What time is qualifying? 12:40? The track temp will not change more than five or 10 degrees between the start and the end of qualifying. So it means nothing."

Busch said anyone trying to slow down their speeds in the final practice must not have "read the rules correctly."

"They would understand that's the wrong thing to do" if they did, he said.

The reason is that NASCAR doesn't make the qualifying order off the second practice; it makes the order based on a driver's fastest lap from the two practices combined.

So if a driver had a fast lap in the first practice, it wouldn't matter if they sandbagged in the second practice.

"(Brother) Kurt was a little faster in the first practice than my time in the second practice, so we go out last of the cars that are in the show," Busch said. "So we're the last of the guys who are locked into the show to go out – it's more beneficial to us."

Sandbagging could come into play at a place like Indianapolis, Busch said, where qualifying is early in the morning. In that case, it would be beneficial to a driver to go out early in qualifying while the track is cool.

In practice at Indy, Busch said, "you would actually have somebody stand at the beginning of the pit wall with a stopwatch and clock you from there, then shut the motor off before you get to the start/finish line so you (slow) down your time."

"We're all smart," he added. "We all know this show runs."

NASCAR's Kerry Tharp, who was moderating the press conference, quickly interjected and said the Indy qualifying time "will be adjusted."

But at Phoenix, Busch said he just couldn't see the point.

"Everybody who thought they were sandbagging for some big ol' shindig reason, they'll be unimpressed," he said.

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