No. 824,
November 25, 2015

About The Autoextremist


Author, commentator, influencer. The Consigliere. Editor-in-Chief of .

What do you do when when you've been immersed in all things automotive since before you took your first steps? When you're the scion of an automotive family in an automotive town in its very own automotive universe? When you've forgotten more about cars and motorsports and everything and everyone involved in the business than most people will ever know? When cars aren't just in your blood, but also in your bones and your brain and the very air you breathe? If you're Peter M. De Lorenzo, you ramp it up a bit further. National commentator, industry consultant and author (as well as former superstar ad man), De Lorenzo's daily (and nightly) focus for the past 15 years has been, a weekly Internet magazine devoted to news, commentary and analysis of the auto industry and the business of motorsports. Translation: De Lorenzo likes to tell the truth about what's really going on behind the scenes in the car business. And sometimes, things get ugly. Real ugly. But he is as passionate with his praise as he is with his critiques, and Autoextremist has become a weekly "must read" for leading professionals in all industries. De Lorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices - and analysts - commenting on the business today. It's the very definition of a high-octane life. And it's what fuels De Lorenzo to keep the pedal down - hard. He won't stop because he can't stop. A bit tired, perhaps? No way. De Lorenzo is one of the most untired people we know.

De Lorenzo's latest book is Witch Hunt (Octane Press It is available on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle formats, as well as on iBookstore. De Lorenzo is also the author of The United States of Toyota.

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By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit. If somehow you missed what I really think about the powers that be who run NASCAR, you can read last week's column, or watch my High-Octane Truth video No. 6 here. But that's not what this column is about. This week I'm paying tribute to someone I consider to be the most talented driver in the NASCAR garage - and the 2015 Sprint Cup Champion - Kyle Busch.

I've written about Kyle Busch before in several "Fumes" columns. At first Busch was mercurial and petulant driver with prodigious talent who squandered much of that talent in a series of regrettable episodes that tarnished his reputation, keeping a lot of observers from acknowledging his incredible skill and gifts behind the wheel. In other words, everyone in the sport knew he had it all and was indeed special, but he kept getting in the way of himself at all the wrong times.

That all changed last February when he slammed into an unprotected wall at Daytona International Speedway during the Xfinity support race. The vicious hit broke his right leg and his left foot, and for the first time in his life Busch was faced with the prospect of perhaps never being able to race again. Besides that, his wife was pregnant and as he said to the media after the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday night, ''I was really worried. I was like, 'Man, I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to get back in a car again.' It did cross my mind, I was thinking, 'My wife's pregnant and I got no job.' I think that's just the emotion that goes through in that moment.''

After many surgeries and an intense rehab program and after missing eleven Sprint Cup races, Busch did return to the series, just in time for his wife to deliver a son, their first child. Busch, hurting and enduring the pain associated with that rehab, captured four wins in one memorable five-week stretch, propelling him into the final ten week Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. And Sunday night, when the planets were aligning for Jeff Gordon, the retiring NASCAR great, to capture his fifth title, Busch instead came through for the win and the championship, validating Joe Gibbs' belief in the prodigious talent of his special driver, and reminding everyone in the garage that a refreshed and refueled Kyle Busch - just 30 years old - will be a force to be reckoned with in the sport for years to come.

You can read more about the Homestead-Miami weekend in "The Line," but suffice to say it was a tremendous victory for Kyle Busch personally - especially given the circumstances - and a memorable night for Joe Gibbs Racing and for Toyota, which propelled a driver to the championship at NASCAR's highest level for the first time.

Congratulations to Kyle and his family, the Joe Gibbs Racing organization, and Toyota for their momentous achievement.

And that's the High-Octane Truth for this week.

(Photo by Nigel Kinrade/LAT Photo USA © 2015, courtesy of Toyota Racing)
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing M&M's Crispy Toyota Camry) celebrates his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Sunday night.

(Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT Photo USA ©2015, courtesy of Toyota Racing)
Kyle Busch's win at the Homestead-Miami Speedway was the biggest win of his career, for many reasons.

(Photo by Nigel Kinrade/LAT Photo USA © 2015, courtesy of Toyota Racing)
The thrill of victory... and sheer elation.

(Photo by Brett Moist/LAT Photo USA ©2015, courtesy of Toyota Racing)
Kyle and Samantha Busch and family.

(Photo by Brett Moist/LAT Photo USA ©2015, courtesy of Toyota Racing)
It has been quite the momentous year for Kyle and Samantha.


Editor's Note: For more racing news and photos, check out "The Line." -WG 

Check out the latest episode of The Autoextremist on AutoextremistTV below. -WG

Editor's Note: Many of you have seen Peter's references over the years to the Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation (HERF), which he launched in 2007. For those of you who weren't following AE at the time, you can read two of HERF's press releases here and here. And for even more details (including a link to Peter's announcement speech), check out the HERF entry on Wikipedia here. -WG

Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD 

(Daytona International Speedway photo, courtesy of the Ford Racing Archives)
Alan Kulwicki emerged from local short track racing in Wisconsin with meager resources and no sponsor to become the 1986 NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Known for doing things only one way - his way - Kulwicki brought his trained engineering mind to the sport, which foreshadowed how the sport would evolve to this day. After he won his first Winston Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, he debuted what would become his trademark: the clockwise "Polish victory lap." Kulwicki won the 1992 Winston Cup Championship by what was then the closest margin in NASCAR history. After reaching the pinnacle of stock car racing, he died tragically early in 1993 in a plane crash. Kulwicki was named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers.    

Publisher's Note: Like these Ford racing photos? Check out Be forewarned, however, because you won't be able to go there and not order something. - PMD