It happens almost every time. Not every week, but whenever Kyle Busch just happens to strap himself into a NASCAR Nationwide Series race car or Camping World Series truck, the comments start. They usually contain the words “unfair,” “Goliath,” or even, “bully.”
It is all because Busch has a high propensity for running an entry, either for his own team or another’s, in one or both of the lower series on any given race weekend. If logistics are favorable, you can bet Busch will be in as many different seats as possible. This does not sit well with many fans, and Busch, because of some historical actions, is an easy and often selected target. Some fans will call him out for “picking on” those drivers in a lower series, as he seems to have better performing equipment and better funding. All of this usually turns into better results, as shown by his multiple wins in each series this season. A few years ago, before NASCAR changed the rules, it led to a Nationwide Series Championship.
Busch is not alone, however. On Saturday night, Kevin Harvick ran in, and won, the Nationwide Series race at Atlanta, beating Kyle Busch in the process. Before the final restart of that race, Joey Logano was lined up in the second position, and Kasey Kahne finished the race in the fourth position. Brad Keselowski won consecutive Nationwide Series races earlier this year. Yet, the only driver you ever hear about “picking on” others in the lower series is, usually, Kyle Busch. And most would have to believe it goes back to having better funding and better equipment. However, if you took it a step further, there might be an even bigger culprit, one who has been in the news a lot recently, because of an injury. Tony Stewart often runs a Sprint car between Sprint Cup Series races, and doing so should aggravate those who would challenge Kyle Busch for the same offense to an even greater degree. If fans dislike the fact that Busch can run a car which would cost $200,000.00 against others which are not funded as well, where is the outcry against Stewart who has enough funding to not only build enough Sprint cars to fill the field of an entire race, but to buy the track on which they run as well. Stewart is running a top of the line Sprint car against others who are trying to rub quarters together to make a race. Yet, we only hear about it in a negative aspect if it is Kyle Busch.
But that’s not all.
How often have we heard fans talk about drivers being too “vanilla” when it comes to showing emotion? We want drivers who will speak their minds. We want to be able to see what really bothers the drivers whom we love to follow. We don’t want drivers who, when after wrecking, come out of the care center and say something like, “Well, we were just biding our time, waiting for the race to come to us and (insert issue here) happened. It’s a shame. We had a really good car (on the fourth lap), but I cannot say enough about this car and this crew. I want to thank (sponsor) and (crew chief) for putting together a great package. I felt good about it, but we’ll be back and try to get them next week. Thanks!”
No, we’d rather have a driver who, when after wrecking, would come out of the infield care center and say something like, “Well, I tell you what. (Driver) is a complete (bleep) head. (Bleep)ing son of a (bleep) can’t drive for (bleep). My (bleep)ing car was a pile of (bleep) anyway. I don’t know what (crew chief) was thinking when they set up this piece of trash. I feel bad for (sponsor) being on the side of a piece of (bleep) like this, and I’m embarrassed for them. Whatever. It’s the same (bleep) every week, so I guess we’ll come back with the same piece of (bleep) next week, unless by some miracle these jokers figure out what the (bleep) they need to do to put a functional race car under me. Doesn’t matter because old (bleep)head will probably put me in the fence again anyway.”
Okay, maybe not that bad, but we’d rather have someone be angry about being out of the race or not winning than someone who is standing there with a smile on their face and thanking “God, Goodyear, and Gatorade.” (Thank you, Dave Moody.) So, when Carl Edwards does an interview and has a big smile on his face after blowing an engine, some have called him “fake.” Some have called Jimmie Johnson boring when he gets out of a car with a smoking engine and acts like it is not a big deal.
On the other side of that, you’ll have the fans who want someone to show emotion, but will be the first to call Kyle Busch a “baby” or tell you he threw a “tantrum.” Busch finished second in the race at Atlanta on Saturday night, and was none too happy. He did a “walking” interview, on his way to the media center, where he was probably just as unhappy. He spoke in short choppy answers, and forgot to say “thank you” after the interview was over. Of course, not too long after, came a tweet from a fan who said that Kyle was…a piece of male anatomy during that interview. Then there was a few weeks ago when Busch called Ryan Newman an “idiot” and an “ogre.” Busch was called out and had to apologize. Brad Keselowski, during driver introductions at Bristol one year, came out on the stage and said “Kyle Busch is an ass!” much to the delight of the crowd.
So, while many are able to drive in a division other than the Sprint Cup Series without being labeled a bully, or accused of “picking on those kids” in the lower series, Kyle Busch does not seem to be one of them. And while the fans crave drivers who will show some emotion or speak what is really on his or her mind, apparently that driver is not Kyle Busch.
Now, this is not a “Poor, poor Kyle Busch column.” Not at all. But the question remains. Why is what is good for the goose, not good for the gander? Why is there a double standard when it comes to Kyle Busch? Is it just a situation where Kyle Busch is just the guy who fans love to hate, or is there something more?