By admin | July 12, 2011
By Richard Allen
Kyle Busch has fans but based on reactions from the grandstands when he is introduced, reader comments to this and other blog sites and twitter posts, it is pretty clear that the fans of this driver are in the minority. So what is it that causes such bitter feelings toward the Las Vegas native?
The immediate reactions by many when asked that question typically center on Busch’s personality. Many of his detractors will claim that he has a bad attitude. While certainly he does at times exhibit behaviors I would not wish to see coming from my own children, there are other drivers who demonstrate many of the same characteristics as Busch but do not seem to stir quite the negative reaction as is directed toward this driver.
Perhaps the problem is that Busch beats the opposition more often than say Tony Stewart or Kyle’s brother Kurt. After all, no one would care about the bad attitude of a guy who runs in the middle of the pack.
After Saturday’s race in Kentucky, Kyle Busch’s Sprint Cup win total reached 22 at the young age of only twenty-six. After the weekend as a whole, his victory total in NASCAR’s top three divisions went to ninety-nine due to the fact that he also scored a victory in the Camping World Truck Series event on Thursday.
Of course, it is Sprint Cup wins that matter most for Sprint Cup drivers. However, in terms of angering fans at least, those Nationwide and truck wins seem to be serving the purpose. And bear in mind that while Busch’s lower series wins should not in any way be counted with the importance of Cup wins, he is often beating drivers such as Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski when he wins in those divisions.
Back to his Cup success, Busch has achieved more wins by this point in his career than most who he might be compared against. Jeff Gordon had an impressive 42 victories by age 26, which is a tough comparison for any other driver. But, Jimmie Johnson had only raced for one year prior to reaching age twenty-six so he had only scored three wins by that stage in his life. After beginning his career in IndyCar racing, Tony Stewart did not even reach Sprint Cup until age twenty-eight.
The key comparison fans of each of the above mentioned drivers can crow about when placed against Busch is their number of championships, of which he has none.
But here is where the rub comes for fans of anyone other than Johnson. In the relatively short time he has been a Sprint Cup driver(since 2005), Busch has amassed more victories than such popular favorites as Gordon, Stewart, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin. In other words, Busch has ruined the weekends of many race fans since 2005, although he can hardly be blamed for much that occurred to ruin this past weekend.
The bottom line is that Kyle Busch wins a lot of races. And bigger than that, he wins more than those who are favored by greater numbers of fans. That in turn cause many to dislike him. But the numbers are clear. Unless you are a Jimmie Johnson fan, he has won more races than your favorite driver since 2005.
So, are you prepared to concede that he is a better driver than your favorite?
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