By admin | February 19, 2012
By Richard Allen
This just in: Kyle Busch is an incredible wheel man. If you have any doubt of that just go back and watch the video from Saturday nightâ€™s Bud Shootout at the Daytona International Speedway. In doing so you will see not one, but two, of the most unbelievable saves any race car driver has ever made on that track followed by a perfectly timed move at the end to pull off the win over another great driver in Tony Stewart.
Notice that the opening paragraph does not say Busch is the smartest, most calculated or likable driver in NASCAR. It simply says he is a great wheelman.
I have no doubt that words such as â€œjerkâ€, â€œidiotâ€, â€œclownâ€ and/or â€œbratâ€ will be used in the comments section of this blog and Iâ€™m not going to deny that any of those terms might well be accurate. However, anyone who truly accesses what happened on Saturday has to also use the word â€œtalentâ€ to describe young Mr. Busch as well.
On lap 48, after a slight rub from Jimmie Johnson, Buschâ€™s car turned almost completely sideways in turn 2 and drifted onto the apron, but miraculously, he was able to reign the Toyota in and keep going without even so much as bringing out a caution. That maneuver appeared to be a save the likes of which might never be seen again, only to be upstaged later.
In what proved to be the wildest incident on a night filled with wild moments, Busch was again called on to perform what seemed to be the impossible on lap 74. With drivers in the already thinned out field aggressively jockeying for position as the white flag loomed in the distance, Jeff Gordon got into the back of Busch in turn 3 and again sent the #18 car sliding toward the apron in a shower of sparks as body pieces dragged on the track.
This time, however, there would be a caution. While Busch was able to save his machine, others who took evasive action to avoid what they assumed would be a wildly spinning car found themselves slamming into each other. Gordon took the scariest ride of all as his car slid for what seemed like an eternity on its side before finally rolling over several times then coming to a stop.
In each of those situations mentioned above, Busch should have crashed but didnâ€™t. I dare say that most, if not every other driver would have.
But even with those skills, Busch is just too hard to like for many people. I equate his lack of popularity with a similar situation of another great driver in NASCAR history.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Darrell Waltrip was at the top of his game and possessed skills the likes of which few had ever seen in NASCAR prior to his arrival. However, he was simply too unlikable for many, including this writer. No matter how good he was, I could not bring myself to acknowledge his talent. I believe many modern day fans find themselves in the same circumstance with Kyle Busch.
But if you still have doubts about his talent, go back and watch the video from Saturday night and pretend itâ€™s your favorite driver behind the wheel. Maybe that will help.
I will be giving away $50 to one of my twitter followers who correctly picks the winner of the Daytona 500. You must follow @RacingWithRich on twitter to participate in the contest.
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