POSTING BY JB MADDAWG
I’ve watched NASCAR for so long, I can remember a time when everyone hated the track at Riverside, Daytona’s infield was just a bunch of grass and Richard Petty wasn’t even close to 200 wins. So, take my words seriously when I say that NASCAR’s bad boy, Kyle Busch, gets the rawest of deals from so-called fans. And I’ll prove it.
Let’s get to the root of the issue right off the bat. NASCAR has slowly devolved into a sport where every driver is expected to be completely aniseptic in response to on track incidents and friction in the garage. Sponsors and the powers that be want to hear “Gosh, gee wilikers, my Clorox/Huggies/Nestle/OldPeopleDate.Com Chevy ran great today. It’s a shame that nice young man bumped me in the rear quarter in the middle of turn four and almost killed me. But it’s ok, ’cause it’s NASCAR, and we’re all one big happy fake family.”
Anyone that is familiar with Kyle Busch expects the possibility of name calling and snark bombs on live television after an incident. Lest we forget, Busch once said fellow driver Ryan Newman was an “idiot” and a “big ogre” after a race. Unwarranted? Maybe. But to ask Busch to respond in any other way is disingenuine, nor should we as fans or even NASCAR itself ask him to retort differently. I’ll make my case starting with the vaunted Earnhardt family.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. was NASCAR’s class pet and could get away with murder from the sport’s top men, which he more than proved on several tracks. Yes, I’m referring to that sportsman like move when big Dale piled Terry Labonte’s car into scrap metal at Bristol many years ago while Labonte was still in it. Yet, that was just laughed off as “Aw shucks. That’s just good ‘ol Dale bein’ good ‘ol Dale.” Yet, in today’s social media area of the sport, Twitter explodes every time Busch’s #18 Toyota merely brushes anyone other than Juan Pablo Montoya. No free passes for Kyle Busch. I mean, who is he to think he can just pass Dale Earnhardt Jr. without even yielding to Earnhardt’s NASCAR forced popularity. How. Dare. He. Besides, NASCAR set the precedent by letting Earnhardt Sr. bash his way to the front, so if anyone is to blame for contact, it’s the management section of the sport itself.
The underlying truth is that Busch is a driver that missed his time about 35 years too late. Most of the newbie sport fans despise Kyle Busch for the lack of understanding the roots of the sport itself. Back in the seventies, NASCAR was different. Busch would have fit perfectly when even the Earnhardt almighty was low man to hard-nosed drivers such as Cale Yarborough. Why do I bring up that specific name? Because this is how men like Yarborough handled business back in the day.
Kind of silly to expect Kyle Busch to be a gentleman when the sport he’s currently in used to have guys beating the crap out of each other with their helmets. But again, men like Donnie Allison and Tiny Lund weren’t the highlighted hair drivers of today. Taking out one of those drivers on the track usually resulted in a full-out pit crew war. In Lund’s case, the 6’7″ 275 giant once picked up the man pictured above, Cale Yarborough, along with his entire mattress and promptly threw the driver into a motel swimming pool after Yarborough threw a bucket of cold water on Lund. Yet again, Kyle Busch is an uncultured jerk because he didn’t give Danica Patrick six lanes of space to openly pass him. What a cur.
There is now a clear division of fans of the sport, and as in many cases of the world, it’s old school v. new school. New school being a bunch of silly little wuss bags whining every time someone with more talent tries to pass them. It’s sponsors treating the cars they’ve stamped their names on as 200 mph billboards, fearing actual contact from another vehicle may put a wrinkle in their logo. Many older fans I’m familiar with are very accepting and respectful of the Kyle Busch style. He wants to win, nothing personal. In fact, if NASCAR had a field of forty more drivers like Kyle Busch, people may actually shell out money to come back to the sport they once loved. Or, I guess they can keep filling a third of the stands as in the case of the Bristol 2013 Spring race.
Brass tacks? NASCAR needs Kyle Busch. It’s a simple as that. Or maybe we could just have Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick drive around together while “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” plays on the P.A. system. Sure, I’ll shell out $75 bucks to see that. Like Hell, I will.
Will my article change how fans feel? Of course not. On Sunday, it will be business as usual for the low info jerks on Twitter, bashing Kyle Busch because they’ve never seen a race prior to 2005, never knew there was a track at North Wilksboro and certainly don’t remember when loveable Darrell Waltrip was know as “Jaws” and hated by old people, pets and children equally.
All it took for me to know the makeup of a man like Kyle Busch was one visit to http://www.kylebuschfoundation.org/ that helps children every day. Me? I think I’ll save my “boos” for the guy constantly at the top of the points race who’s crew chief gets caught every other week for cheating.