It was about seven years ago at this time when I was looking at the night race at Bristol, and began to feel sick to my stomach.
The main reason: the driver that won in my eyes was a driver that embraced the hatred from the fans, used it as motivation, and then won the race in spite of it all. He would do that at Bristol in the Truck race, the Xfinity race, and then the Cup race in the same weekend. The only driver to accomplish the hat trick in NASCAR.
That man was Kyle Busch.
Fast forward to this year. Same track, same event schedule. He ran the truck race on Wednesday night, and won it, overcoming a penalty to do so.
Friday in the Xfinityy race, same result. He was two-for-two, and now ready to have the broom on standby once again.
Come Saturday night, despite not being the best car the entire night, he was the best car when it mattered the most. When he exited the car after another strong burnout, including his new deal of hanging out the window while the car is still smoking tires, he stood on the roof in front of the enormous crowd, and saw a crew member hand over a simple department store broom, and he began to sweep the roof of his No. 18 M&M’s Caramel Toyota.
Like I have said numerous times, I am not a fan of Busch, but I admit he’s good at what he does. His attitude when he doesn’t succeed needs to change because this idea of not having a good day just because he didn’t win will not get him respect. After all, this is a guy who dropped the microphone in the media center and walked out. This is the same guy who picked a fight with his teammate and needed separated from him by his team owner. This is a guy who if given the opportunity would, and has, wrecked family in order to advance position.
Then this is the same guy who driving back home from winning a race notices a fan in the next lane wearing his cap. He honks, the fan says nothing, but then he rolls down his window since hers was as well just to simply say, “What’s up.” That fan loses her mind and gets an autograph in traffic for her fandom.
I am not sure if I’m ever going to like him, but I will never deny his talent. When you sweep all three races at Bristol, it’s quite an accomplishment. To do it twice…that means there’s no one in the same category.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch
STAGE 2 WINNER: Matt Kenseth
RESULTS: 1-Kyle Busch 2-Jones 3-Hamlin 4-Kenseth 5-Kurt Busch 6-Newman 7-Bayne 8-Harvick 9-Larson 10-Blaney
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Johnson 13-Logano 14-Stenhouse Jr. 21-Truex Jr. 23-Earnhardt Jr. 24-Kahne 29-Keselowski 39-Dillon
CAUTIONS: 8 for 53 laps. Lap 63-67 (#43 Incident-T2); 127-135 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 202-207 (#17 Incident-BS); 233-244 (#3, 5, 33 Incident-T4); 252-257 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 355-359 (#6, 13 Incident-T2); 397-401 (#4, 13, 24, 43 Incident-T4); 417-421 (#32, 34-T1).
LEAD CHANGES: 21 among 6 drivers. E. Jones 1-3; C. Elliott 4-5; E. Jones 6-50; K. Larson 51-63; E. Jones 64; K. Larson 65-114; Kyle Busch 115-117; K. Larson 118-124; Kyle Busch 125-129; E. Jones 130-166; Kyle Busch 167-179; E. Jones 180-197; Kyle Busch 198-202; E. Jones # 203; Kyle Busch 204-240; E.
Jones 241; M. Kenseth 242-252; R. Newman 253; E. Jones 254-360; Kyle Busch 361-397; E. Jones 398-444; Kyle Busch 445-500.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 46 Mins, 37 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 95.969 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.422 Seconds
POINT STANDINGS (Points/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]): 1. Truex Jr, 951 ; 2. Kyle Busch, -101 ; 3. Larson, -106 ; 4. Harvick, -127 ; 5. Hamlin, -198 ; 6. Keselowski, -223 ; 7. Elliott, -240 ; 8. Kenseth, -248 ; 9. McMurray, -251; 10. Bowyer, -309 ; 11. Johnson, -323 ; 12. Blaney, -328 ; 13. Kurt Busch, -365 ; 14. Logano, -368 *; 15. Newman, -377 ; 16. Jones, -377; 18. Stenhouse Jr, -423 ; 20. Kahne, -200 ; 21. Dillon, -514 .
*Win from Richmond is encumbered, does not count towards seeding in playoffs.