Say what you want about Kyle “Rowdy” Busch, but he is a proven race winner. Nothing showed his passion more for this sport than his .019 sec win at the Bristol Motor Speedway tonight, as this was the closest NASCAR Nationwide Series finish at Bristol – which if you asked Kyle, it made it that much more special.
Not only did Busch win a race by the ‘skin of his teeth’, but he also became the all-time NNS career wins leader. Anyone would admit that winning 50 career NNS races is pretty remarkable, but keep in mind four of those wins came at Bristol (where he also became the first driver to win 3 consecutive NNS races).
With all of this winning, what do some of the other drivers think?
When Clint Bowyer, who finished P3 tonight, was asked about what he thought of Busch, he joked “We all hate him by now, but he’s really good.”
This seems to be the common thread, drivers love to hate Busch and it shows. It might not be the wins that have drivers upset, but by how he goes about his wins but that’s a whole different story.
With 50 career NNS victories, over 100 career NASCAR victories, is it safe to say Busch is on his way to becoming one of NASCAR’s greatest?
Without much dispute, the majority of race fans would love to see Busch “fall”, but how would they react towards the news of Busch making the Hall of Fame?
I know these are some questions that may never be answered, but they are worth discussing. In many ways Busch reminds me of a young Darrell Waltrip. Granted I was born ‘after’ the Waltrip era, but I at least know the background of one of NASCAR’s most iconic figures.
One of the more common questions I receive via twitter: “What is it that ‘ol DW sees in Busch that us (the fans) don’t see?”- It’s quite simple, he sees himself.
Just after the race had ended, Waltrip (@AllWaltrip) tweeted: “Always felt like there was a secret to getting around Bristol, thought I was the only one that knew it, guess I was wrong.”
Sure Busch doesn’t have the championships that Jimmie Johnson has, but is that really what is separating him from being one of the ‘greatest’ drivers we have ever seen? I think not.
Some interesting facts about Kyle Busch:
-On May 14, 2004 at Richmond International Raceway, Busch drove the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. It was the 18th career series start for Busch, then 19, who led 236 of the 250 laps in that event.
-Busch won five races along with Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2004, his first full season of NASCAR Nationwide Series competition. In 2008, he collected 10 wins, tying two-time series champion Sam Ard for the most series victories in a single season. In 2010, he set the NASCAR Nationwide Series single-season mark with 13 victories.
-Win number 50 came in his 219th start, at the age of 26. Busch has won at least one race at 21 different tracks, with the most coming at Charlotte Motor Speedway (six).
All-time NNS wins list:
-Kyle Busch (50), Mark Marin (49), Kevin Harvick (37), Carl Edwards (34), Jack Ingram (31), Jeff Burton (27), and Matt Kenseth (26)
All information courtesy of NASCAR Marketing Communications
I think it is important for us to recognize Busch as he is, not by his actions off or away from the track. We all know there will always be ‘drama’ with Busch, but that’s what makes him unique. Could you imagine a sport without the kind of drama Busch brings?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of Busch’s biggest critics, because he deserves to be criticized, but let’s not overlook the mere talent he possesses. We may not ever see another NASCAR driver as talented as he is in our life-time.