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Like him or not, Kyle Busch has incredible skill

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 night’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 “jerk”, “idiot”, “clown” and/or “brat” will be used in the comments section of this blog and I’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 “talent” to describe young Mr. Busch as well.

On lap 48, after a slight rub from Jimmie Johnson, Busch’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 didn’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 it’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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7 Responses to “Like him or not, Kyle Busch has incredible skill”

  1. Offkilter Says:
    February 19th, 2012 at 10:00 am

    What i saw both times he was sideways was the front clip digging into the apron which also angles the rear clip to dig into the racing groove and thats what i think kept him from snapping around. He’s good, maybe the best, but last night was a fluke x 2. Also he DID spin out on the second deal once he got down to the flat of the infield… After a ton of speed had been scrubbed off… Nobody wants to bring that up because it might make superman’s cape look shorter. Honestly, if it were any other driver that had that to happen, i would still say it was luck.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    February 19th, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Some people hate a driver so much that if that driver walked on water they’d say, so what it was low tide.

  3. Team24 Says:
    February 19th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Kyle’s driving is arguably the best I have seen in near 40 years of watching all sorts of racing. Offkilter, your logic is…well…offkilter! His 2 saves last nite were not flukes. A fluke is something that happens quite by accident. Aside from last nite, Kyle has had a few other saves that while not quite as spectacular were equally impressive. That is the opposite of fluke!

  4. J.R. Says:
    February 20th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I thought his ability to recover was fantastic! What I thought was unusual was that the announcers failed to make a point that it was Jimmie & Jeff that caused the spinning to start.

    In fact, they even defended Jeff in the bump on the left rear bumper!

  5. Dave in Ohio Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Let me start with I’ve never been a huge fan of Kyle personally, but you just have to recognize a incredibly talented race car driver when you see him. The guy is just flat a threat to win in whatever he jumps behind the wheel of, be it at Daytona, or the dirt track up the street on a Wednesday night, or anything in between. The guy just flat loves to wheel a race car, and wants to win no matter what, generally does. How can any true race fan not respect that? There are only 2 or 3 race drivers a generation that can do what he does, and that is win in any car he sticks his butt in. Tony Stewart is one, Mario Andretti was one. Good company to be in. Na$car’s golden boys like Jeff Gordon or Jimmy Johnson or Dale Earnhardt can’t be bothered getting their firesuit dirty racing anywhere else but Na$car on Sunday, and that is not the stuff of a great driver.

  6. Offkilter Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Team 24, i was impressed that the car didn’t snap around both times. But i still stand by that he was lucky the nose of the car drug the apron both times. How much steer controll does a driver reallly have when you can roll a bowlin ball under the car?
    As far as the best you’ve seen in 40 years…I wouldn’t go that far. He may be one of the best talents right now, but how can you compare him to drivers of different eras in bias ply tires or heavier cars? If you compare by stats, you will be dissapointed because Kyle is not dominant like Gordon was 15 years ago or Dale sr 25 years ago, Waltrip and Yarlboro before that. Also, to be argued he is the best, a championship will help.

  7. Offkilter Says:
    February 21st, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Dave, respect is earned. Maybe the word admire is a better choice.
    I may be wrong, but i don’t think kb races dirt either.