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New 'Honda' F1 team needs new drivers
The Formula One news this week is both good and bad.

It's good, because the Honda F1 team will not go out of business after all. It's been purchased by a group headed by ex-Honda team principal (and former Ferrari brainchild) Ross Brawn and will be known henceforth as Brawn GP.

The 2009 Honda chassis (oops, Brawn chassis – but you know what I mean) will be powered by a Mercedes engine because, Brawn says, it was easier to fit into the chassis. A Ferrari engine would have required a serious modification.

Brawn has the legitimacy and years of experience to head up the "new" GP team. If Honda had been able to find another sucker – oops, investor or investment group – to take over the team, that would have been fine. But a condition of the deal would likely have been to keep Brawn in place.

In fact, Honda might even have helped Brawn with the financing. At least, this way they will likely get at least some of their money back.

The bad news? That Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will continue as drivers. This is appalling. The facts are out there for all to see. With the exception of one fluke win in 2006, Button has done absolutely nothing in nine F1 seasons, in which he started 155 races. This impressive record of achievement ranks right up there with Eddie Cheever's 12 F1 seasons in which he started 132 races and won exactly none.

Barrichello's record is not much better. He's been driving for 16 seasons, in which he's won nine races (mainly because Michael Schumacher let him) in 267 starts.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is not good enough to justify continued employment in F1.

How about Bruno Senna for the first seat? And Canadian Bruno Spengler in the second?

I guarantee that both these young lions could do as well – and probably even better – than those two bums.

What's in a name?

For 25 years, Anheuser-Busch spent millions of dollars to promote its Busch beer in NASCAR.

From 1982 – when NASCAR reorganized its ladder system and established a late-model sportsman series to support its headline series – until the end of 2007, the St. Louis-based brewery supported what was known for most of those years as the Busch Grand National Series.

So NASCAR fans know what the word means when they see, or hear, "Busch." It means beer.

But nowadays, it also means Kurt and Kyle, the brothers Busch.

So, does anybody else out there see a connection between Anheuser-Busch cancelling its sponsorship of the Busch series at the end of '07 and the emergence of the Busch boys as consistent race winners – particularly Kyle?

I'm serious. Busch stopped sponsoring that series at just about the same time Kurt and Kyle began dominating NASCAR racing.

Corporations pay people serious money to think of things like this: why pay gazillions of dollars to have the word "Busch" splashed all over the media every weekend when Kyle and Kurt are going to be able to get it out there for nothing?

Last year, Kyle and Kurt – mostly Kyle – combined for 22 victories in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck. So at least half the time last year the name Busch appeared in Monday morning headlines.

This year is starting off even better. After a so-so Daytona 500 (Kurt finished 10th while Kyle crashed and was 41st), the Busches have been right up there. At Fontana (won by Matt Kenseth), Kyle was third and Kurt was fifth. But Kyle also won the Nationwide and Camping World truck races and the talk all weekend was that he might become the first driver in NASCAR history to score a sweep.

Then, last weekend in Las Vegas, Kyle won handily. Yesterday, at Atlanta, it was Kurt's turn.

I bet some guy or woman at Anheuser-Busch got a big bonus for this because Kyle and Kurt Busch are selling as much beer as title sponsorship ever did and it's all on the house.

Timing is everything

Kurt dominated yesterday's NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for most of its advertised 325 laps. But then the race went into overtime (translation: a green-white-checkered finish) and it was edge-of-your-seat.

But in the end, as was the case throughout the race, Busch had the horses and the others didn't. He passed leader Carl Edwards on the restart and then held off Jeff Gordon for the win. Kevin Harvick finished fourth and Brian Vickers was fifth. The rest of the results are here.

The race featured a bizarre incident. During a round of green-flag pitstops early in the going, a tire got away from Marcos Ambrose's pit and started to roll across the lawn toward the main straight. Gas man Jimmy Watts ran after it, fearing it would roll onto the speedway and perhaps create havoc.

The problem, however, was that Watts was in a no-man's-land and NASCAR had to throw a yellow. The timing couldn't have been worse. It resulted in more than half the field finding itself a lap down.

So, at the end of the race, the results were most un-NASCAR-like. Only the top 12 cars were on the lead lap. By the time you got to the 15th finishing car (Jamie McMurray), it was two laps down. Kyle Busch finished 18th and was three laps down. It went on from there (or got worse, depending on your perspective). Joey Logano, for instance, was 30th and he was six laps down.

A major reason for this, of course (never mind the ill-timing of the wandering tire yellow flag), is that Atlanta is not a restrictor-plate race (which make the Sprint Cup cars virtually identical in performance), so that the combination of a strong engine and a strong driver can often equal dominant performance, which was the casewith Kurt Busch yesterday.

A death in the family

Sad news.

Peter Taws, father of well-known formula car and stock-car racer Ashley Taws, has died while on vacation in Florida. Peter was his daughter's biggest fan and never missed any of her races.

Peter leaves his wife Barb, son Doug and Ashley.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. James the Apostle Anglican Church at 18794 Leslie St. in the village of Sharon, just north of Newmarket.

For additional details, please go to

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