By admin | May 11, 2008
Kyle Busch does give a flip, and other Darlington notes
By Richard Allen
Kyle Busch does give a flip: During driver introductions it was easy to tell when Kyle Busch was introduced. A thunderous chorus of boos came from the grandstands when the driver of the M&Ms Toyota took his turn on the stage.
Busch has become the newest NASCAR villain after his run in with crowd favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in Richmond last week. The ‘Junior Nation’ continued to let the brash, young star know how they felt as he took a trip around the 1 1/3 mile facility in the back of a pick up truck. Section after section rose to boo, scream at and gesture toward their most hated target.
Busch, however, had some gesturing of his own to do. From my vantage point at the end of pit road I saw Junior’s crew line the pit wall as Busch’s truck rolled by. He looked up at the fans seated in the Turn 1 grandstand and waved his arms, encouraging them to get up and boo him as well. They obliged.
Then, Busch whirled quickly around and offered a “salute” of sorts to Junior’s crew, who appeared to be heckling him.
It may have only been a playful gesture by both parties involved. However, given the events of last week, probably not. There seemed to be malice involved on both sides. Either way, it made for good, albeit not so wholesome, entertainment.
So, contrary to what may be reported from time to time, it appears that Kyle Busch does give a flip about what people think of him.
Track resurfacing: Every time a track gets resurfaced it brings about predictions of gloom and doom. Drivers and media types will estimate the number of cautions to be record setting. Words like crash fest and demolition derby will be tossed around in pre-race chatter.
Then, probably because they believe their own forecasts, drivers seem to be extra cautious once the race starts.
The Darlington race had not one, but two rounds of green flag pit stops during the middle sections of the race and the event finished with a long green flag run to the checkered flag. That’s almost unheard of at “The Track Too Tough To Tame”.
The experts were wrong. There was no crash fest. However, it was a good, exciting race with plenty of drama with the fuel mileage run at the end.
As with all new resurfacing jobs the track will revert to its old self again in 2009. Bristol and Talladega both had to go through the same surface maturing process and both of those tracks were back to normal in the earlier visits this year.
Resurfacing is necessary and it always seems to make the racing better the second time around.
However, in his post race interview Carl Edwards did have an idea for working in the new asphalt, “They should invite everybody in South Carolina to come here and drive around as much as they want,” he joked. “It would be a great promotion.”
Edwards- Busch rivalry: The two hottest drivers on the Sprint Cup circuit this season have been Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. Both have accumulated three victories already. So, it would be natural to assume that a rivalry might be in the works between the two.
Obviously, in the minds of the fans a rivalry exists between Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. but Junior has yet to win this season.
In Edwards’ mind, at least, the rivalry seems to already be in place. He wastes few opportunities to mention how much he hates losing to Busch whenever it occurs. Not that Edwards enjoys losing to anyone but his tone and body language seem to suggest that it is even more bothersome when Kyle Busch is involved.
“I don’t think I’m going to see that Indiana Jones movie,” he said in reference to the fact that the #18 car had a special paint scheme in honor of the fourth installment of the popular series.
But what of Busch’s celebratory bow? “When you win a race you can do whatever you want, I guess,” the master of the back flip said.
Race preparation: Until you have seen it for yourself it is hard to imagine the amount of preparation it takes to get a car ready on race day.
The garage opened at 1:00pm on Saturday for a race that started after 7:00pm. There are very few wasted moments in those six hours.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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