Race Weekend Central

Kyle Busch Kicks the Dust Up in Berlin

The Camping World SRX Series made its fourth stop of the 2023 season at the unique Berlin Raceway. For the second consecutive week, things got a little “Rowdy.”

Kyle Busch followed up his win a week ago at Pulaski County Motorsports Park by staying perfect, taking charge on a restart late in the main event and setting his car on cruise control from there. Ironically, it was Brad Keselowski who he would hold off to win, the same driver he turned a week ago for the lead. But while Busch left the field in the dust, it was far from a snoozefest.

In a series that has seen many cars torn up this year to the point where a driver was ultimately expelled from the class, Berlin put on a fairly clean, old-school event.

Keselowski took the lead early on and nearly experienced deja vu in the opening stages. While fending off Ryan Newman for the lead, Busch overdrove the entry to turn 1, clipping Keselowski and nearly spinning him around for the second week in a row.

The RFK Racing driver/co-owner dominated the early stages, but a pleasant storyline began to unfold midway through. Four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves mirrored the line Clint Bowyer used to finish second last week, running on the apron and sending a dust storm through the field at times.

At the midpoint of the race, Castroneves took the lead from Keselowksi, spurring a roar from the packed Michigan crowd.

However, Castroneves’ downfall was an effect of the key to conquering the 7/16-mile track: tire wear. A caution to bunch the field up allowed Busch to take the lead as “Spider-Man” appeared to have used all of his stuff up.

Busch overcame some early struggles himself, admitting to over-adjusting the car prior to the main event. He also provided the laugh of the race, as Joey Logano dialed him on the radio on the ESPN broadcast, to which Busch’s response was “I’m busy.”

The interaction somewhat paralleled that of the in-race communication between Conor Daly and Bowyer, with Logano briefly spotting for Busch just like Daly did for Bowyer.

The race never featured a caution for an incident, but the race was never short on action. And considering what happened with Paul Tracy in Pulaski County, that is probably a good thing.

Terrific battles ensued from the character of the track, with a late-race fight for third between Newman, Hailie Deegan and Marco Andretti taking center stage toward the end. Drivers weren’t afraid to use the bumper or kick some dirt up, and the end revealed who had saved their stuff effectively.

Andretti’s run to fourth was quite impressive. From the beginning, Andretti immediately dropped back, losing the pack quickly. However, the move was entirely strategic, as the defending champion was the most aggressive in saving his tires. The strategy nearly worked like a charm, as Andretti left with a solid top five.

Kasey Kahne and Johnny Benson Jr. made their debuts in the series, bringing back nostalgia at many times. Both struggled with handling and finished 11th and 12th, respectively, but it was fun to have them back on national television.

Newman continues to pad his cushion as the points leader, with a new face trying to chase him down with two races remaining. After a rough start to the season, Keselowski now sits second in the standings, 33 points back of Newman. Andretti sits just one point back of Keselowski in third.

The series now heads to the banks of Eldora Speedway for the lone dirt event of the season. Tony Kanaan returns to the field for his third event of the season, while Matt Kenseth makes his season debut. Current NASCAR Cup Series drivers Austin Dillon and Chase Briscoe will also compete in the race. Both are former winners of the Eldora Dirt Derby that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series hosted from 2013-2019. Logano will be in the ESPN broadcast booth for the final time this season.

You can catch all the action at Eldora on Thursday, Aug. 10 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

About the author

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Luken Glover joined the Frontstretch team in 2020 as a contributor, furthering a love for racing that traces back to his earliest memories. Glover inherited his passion for racing from his grandfather, who used to help former NASCAR team owner Junie Donlavey in his Richmond, Va. garage. A 2023 graduate from the University of the Cumberlands, Glover is the author of "The Underdog House," contributes to commentary pieces, and does occasional at-track reporting. Additionally, Glover enjoys working in ministry, coaching basketball, playing sports, and karting.

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Christopher

Found it remarkable how the absence of Tracy produced a race unlike any in the brief history of SRX; aggressive but clean racing, no wrecks. Another first for SRX is that, after 2 and a half years, the audio balance between booth and the cars was correct.

Jeremy

After reading the other article which stated fans prefer wrecks to racing, we’ll see how long the SRX series can survive without PT. lol

TiminPayson

Tracy goes the way of Willy T. The racing was great. Kyle Busch has an understanding of short track asphalt late models that rivals Kyle Larson on dirt.

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