By admin | April 28, 2012
By Richard Allen
It’s no secret that Kyle Busch has not looked like his old self in some time. The driver typically known for running up front and ticking off a multitude of fans and competitors while doing so has languished in mid-pack for much of the 2012 season. And in so doing, has not really made anyone angry in the process.
Many have suggested that last year’s ‘benching’ by NASCAR and a stern talking to from team owner Joe Gibbs and sponsor M&M’s may have calmed down the once raging volcano that was Kyle Busch. And certainly, that may very well have had an impact on the Las Vegas native.
Since the weekend in Texas in which he was made to sit out from a Nationwide Series race and a Sprint Cup race after a run-in with truck series driver Ron Hornaday, Busch has posted Sprint Cup finishes of 36th, 23rd, 17th, 6th, 23rd, 32nd, 2nd, 36th, 11th and 10th. Those are certainly not the type of numbers we are used to seeing from this fiery competitor.
However, one thing to consider is that those numbers also come from the time period in which Busch and his Kyle Busch Motorsports team were piecing together and eventually implementing a Nationwide Series effort with Monster Energy as a sponsor and bother Kurt Busch as a part-time driver along with the team owner himself.
My contention is that the pressure of putting together a top-flight Nationwide organization may have weighed more heavily on the younger of the Busch brothers than any benching might have.
On Friday night, Kurt Busch fulfilled the promise of KBM’s Nationwide operation when he scored a victory at the Richmond International Raceway. The sense of relief for both, but especially Kyle, was readily apparent after the checkered flag fell on that event.
“This is the most emotional I’ve ever been for a win,” an almost tearful Kyle Busch said in victory lane. “Man, this is cool. When you’re behind the wheel, it’s a lot easier to do.”
Now that a win has finally been achieved, the pressure release could very well be the thing that propels Kyle toward the Sprint Cup contending status that is expected of him. Currently, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota sits 13th in the Sprint Cup standings but this weekend’s race in Richmond could be the place for him to ‘find himself’.
Busch has won the last three spring races at RIR and has compiled an amazing eleven top-5s in only 14 career starts on the ¾ mile track.
So, with Kurt’s win on Friday, the ‘old’ Kyle might very well return to action on ‘The Action Track’ this Saturday and beyond.
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