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Monday, August 23, 2010

Love Him or Hate Him: Kyle Busch

Twitter has been all aflutter with people loudly voicing opinions on if the love Kyle Busch or hate him. To the Busch lovers he has achieved the greatest feat known to mankind - the Bristol Sweep. To the haters, he cheats and can't drive worth a damn. What happened to respecting a driver for his skill? You don't win three races in four days without being able to drive the car.

Personally I do not like Kyle as a person from what I have seen at the track and on-camera. He tends to blame others before having all the facts, he conveys a sense of entitlement that he hasn't earned, and he disrespects the fans. I do not argue that Kyle has skills as a driver, however. No driver makes it to the Cup Series without  in some way earning the right to be there.

For me, it's not the way Kyle drives aggressively. I am a big fan of aggressive racing. When NASCAR announced the "Have at it, Boys" policy I was thrilled. It's that Kyle's attitude is crap. He mostly acts like a spoiled, condescending brat.

During driver introductions at Bristol Saturday night he was booed; Busch said into the microphone something about the love he felt from the crowd...with a sneer on his face. After the race, from the Winner's Circle he again took a jab at the booing masses in the crowd. Race fans pay for Kyle's paycheck. It seems to me he would at least show them the respect they deserve for spending their time off work and money on traveling, lodging, and race tickets.

So, does having fans hate you with a passion hurt you as a driver? Not if you listen to what has been said before about getting more booing from the crowd than cheering at times of introduction. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. said "Whether they boo or cheer, as long as they're making noise you are doing something right." NASCAR fans definitely make noise for Kyle.

On his way to the Friday night Nationwide win he took out Brad Keselowski. Granted, he owned up to it in post-race interviews but standing there saying that he "dumped" Brad intentionally takes another couple notches off my personal opinion of Kyle. If Kyle had not wrecked Brad we would have seen more good racing before the night's end. Would Kyle have still won the race? No one can know, but there would be a lot fewer angry fans around.

The facts of the weekend are that Kyle earned the pole position but started from the back after engine repairs and won the Wednesday night Truck Series Race. He started third in Friday night's Nationwide race and crossed the finish line first at the end of the night. He qualified 19th for the Irwin Tools Night Race and at the end, he was in front. He is the only driver to take wins in all three National touring series in the same weekend. These facts earn Kyle Busch - as a driver - my respect. So Kudos to Kyle Busch for taking the Sweep at Bristol....but I still don't like you.

Photo Credits
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Photo 2: Getty Images/
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