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Kyle Busch – Love him or hate him, the kid is good

Posted by chadmusselman on May 14, 2008

Kyle BuschFans love to boo a winner
Kyle Busch has been one of the most talked about drivers so far this season. He’s one of the best drivers, can dominate and win any race on any track, and of course the fans love to boo him and paint him as the villain. NASCAR fans, like fans of many sports, boo anyone who wins and dominates too much. Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, and Jeff Gordon all got booed by the fans when they were in their prime, winning 10 or more races a season. Kyle hasn’t won that many races in a season yet, but he does have 3 wins already in 2008. Kyle is being a good sport about the fans booing him though. At Darlington, as the fans booed on his parade lap before the race, he took off his sunglasses and acted like he was wiping away a tear. Good stuff.

Fans also love to boo a jerk
Along with his success on the track Kyle has had a few “bump and runs” as well. He has a very aggressive driving style, not letting up on any lap. Along the way he’s wrecked his share of drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Richmond a couple weeks ago. This is a prime example of why many fans have come to despise and villainize Kyle. When asked about his approach to the races Kyle says, “I’m just out there to do one thing…win races.” He says that the fans’ reaction doesn’t matter to him. As Ray Evernham said, “He’s not really a villain, but the competition.”

Throwing beer cans at him isn’t the answer
Booing a driver you don’t like is fine. Yell at him; flip him the bird, whatever you want, but the fans that throw their beer cans shouldn’t be allowed back at the track. Security should try to catch as many of them as possible and ban them for life. After Kyle won the race in Richmond (when he wrecked Jr.) fans threw cans on the track at him, similar to what they did to Jeff Gordon after he passed Dale Earnhardt in career victories. What a stupid thing for the fans to do, for more than one reason. #1 being safety. They don’t all have strong enough arms to get their cans of beer on the track, and are hitting the fans in the front few rows. A 12oz can of beer cracking you in the skull can’t feel good. #2 is that throwing cans give the tracks a reason to stop allowing fans to carry in their own beverages. If people are going to act like idiots and throw their stuff around, there’s no reason to allow them to bring it in. This is a huge selling point for the sport, and I don’t think NASCAR wants to take that privilege away, but if people are going to continue to act like this they may not have a choice.

Will he become one of the all-time greats?
Kyle has been receiving some comparisons to the all-time great drivers in NASCAR. He’s heard some Earnhardt comparisons because of his aggressive style and dominating races. He said that it’s “Awesome to have that” regarding the comparisons. He says it more about being himself, and not worrying what others are saying.

Kyle is definitely one of the top drivers in the sport right now’. He has more raw talent than most of the drivers combined, and he has access to great equipment and minds at Joe Gibbs Racing. With all of this, he could be on his way to all-time greatness, but I don’t think we can really begin this discussion until he has a couple championships under his belt. The greatest, “King” Richard Petty has 7 championships, Dale Earnhardt also had 7, while Jeff Gordon has 4. All others considered among the best have 3 (Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarbourgh, David Pearson, and Lee Petty). No doubt, it’s tougher to win a championship now than when most of these drivers were active, but if he wants to be mentioned among the best, that’s what it’ll take.

Kyle is off to a great start this season, and could very well win his first of many championships. If he does, then let the hype machine and larger endorsement deals begin. On top of all this, remember that the kid just turned 23 on May 2nd. He has what looks to be a long and promising career ahead of him. Will he become one of the all-time greats? Let’s see if he can win a championship first.


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