THIS WEEK IN NASCAR
THIS WEEK IN NASCAR Kyle Busch wants it all
Like him or not, NASCAR needs Kyle Busch. Sports in general need him. He can play hero or villain, depending on one’s point of view, but he can’t play anyone but himself. There are as many corporate spokesmen in the cockpits as there are in the skyscrapers. The Busch brothers are different, and a lot has to do with both of them being raised in Las Vegas. They’re a breed apart. They don’t fall back on the false modesty that characterizes most of their peers. At 23 years of age, Kyle Busch is unafraid of being himself, which is a lesson most racers don’t learn until they are at least 10 years older. Mark Martin didn’t learn it until he was in his 40s. In a forest thick with firebrands, knowit-alls, pretty boys, yes men, weasels, a few too old and a few too young, the Busch brothers are pretty unique. Kurt is approximately seven years older, which means the world has beaten him down a bit more. Kyle Busch is in all his youthful glory, and unlike most, has the talent to back it all up. He’s Jim McMahon under center, Reggie Jackson batting in the World Series, Andre Agassi patrolling the baseline and Magic Johnson driving the lane. If Kyle Busch were modest, he would also be disingenuous. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be popular. Society, not to mention the grandstands, often frowns on those with the courage to portray themselves just as they are. Kyle Busch wants it all, so much so that he could be a character in fiction, a Jay Gatsby or a Roy Hobbs. At Bristol, he was mad at his pit crew and blamed them for costing him the Nationwide Series race. Few others would go public as he did. Asked if he needed to mend some fences with the oil-stained wretches of pit road, Busch said, “We don’t talk about that. If they don’t know that, they don’t need to be working for me. These guys are great. They appreciate what I do behind the wheel. I appreciate what they do on pit road. That’s a given for any team. “The guys should hang their head for [Saturday], but then wake up the next morning rejuvenated and ready to go, and should’ve thought about all that stuff that happened and not let it get to them [Sunday]. There are ways to get better in this sport, and the only way is to jumpback out there. It’s basically reviewingyour fear. You just get back out there anddo it again.”If there’s a way for Kyle Busch to getbetter, it’s going to be a long season foreveryone else.Monte Dutton has covered motorsportsfor The Gaston Gazette since 1993. Hewas named writer of the year by theNational Motorsports Press Associationin 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week(http://nascar.rbma.com) features allof his reporting on racing, roots musicand life on the road. E-mail Monte firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Kyle Busch does a burnout to celebrate winning the Food City 500 in Bristol, Tenn. (Getty Images photo)