By admin | June 17, 2008
By Richard Allen
The vast majority of e-mails and comments I receive and things I hear fans say on the subject of drivers they like and do not like revolve around the following statements:
Fans say they want a driver who drives hard.
Fans say they are tired of drivers who just say what sponsors and media want to hear. They want a driver who tells the truth rather than a corporate “yes man”.
Fans say they want a driver who races to win, not a points stroker.
Well, here he is. His name is Kyle Busch. And since he is all the things fans say they want he must be the most popular driver on the circuit, right?
Instead, Kyle Busch is actually the most hated driver in NASCAR. So why is it that so many despise the one driver who lives up to the criteria many fans claim they want?
One problem with him, I have been told, is that he is not a “good ole boy”. He is from Las Vegas, not North Carolina, Georgia or Tennessee. Apparently this rule does not apply to popular drivers Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, none of whom are from the South but all of whom get many cheers and sell lots of souvenirs.
Another reason fans point to for booing Kyle Busch is they never liked his brother.
I have also heard he is unlikable because he drives a Toyota. Well, so does the afore mentioned, and very popular, Stewart.
And of course, his ears are too big, the mention of which prior to the California race made actor Brad Garrett a bit of a hero in some NASCAR circles.
What’s more, if asked who they favor between Kyle Busch and some other drivers Busch would lose on almost every count. Drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and the Labontes would all decidedly be the choice of many racing rooters in a head to head contest against the younger of the Busch brothers.
Each of those mentioned are excellent drivers who have a great many accomplishments in racing. However, each of them embody the complaints fans have against the modern day NASCAR star. They are each known for a laid back driving style, they do not ruffle many feathers and usually say all the right things.
It would seem, if NASCAR fans mean what they say, that those drivers are the ones who should be getting booed. Many will no doubt counter with the argument that those drivers are classy individuals. On that count there can be no argument, but the definition of classy often means a person who does not make waves and says all the right things.
On the other hand, many will no doubt argue that Kyle Busch is a punk. A punk is sometimes another way of saying someone who does not always say or do the things that are meant only to increase one’s popularity.
So, those fans who claim they want their drivers to do and say the things listed above are booing the wrong driver. With that being said I expect to hear resounding cheers for Kyle Busch the next time he is introduced.
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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