By admin | July 5, 2008
By Richard Allen
Kyle Busch proved to be a great talent behind the wheel of a race car in the Coke Zero 400 and he proved he is no dummy as well.
As he stopped his car at the start/finish line to get the checkered flag for his celebration lap he made sure to keep his helmet on as he walked up the track amid a few beer cans showering down from the grandstands.
The remarkable thing is that Busch was there to get the checkered flag. Busch drove a great race to get himself in that position. Earlier in the event Busch received what was meant to be a helpful push from teammate Denny Hamlin. Instead, however, the push helped Buschâ€™s Toyota turn almost completely sideways. He saved the car but he had to drop to the back of the field.
With hard driving and good pit work Busch found himself back at the front of the pack as the customary late lap, restrictor plate caution feast began to take place. The last several laps saw caution flags fall as cars bounced off each other numerous times.
On the raceâ€™s final restart, a green/white/checkered, Busch brought the field down at a slow pace which forced cars to bunch up behind him. Jeff Gordon got turned by Carl Edwards but NASCAR kept the green flag out as no other cars were involved and Gordon was able to get his car going.
However, just after taking the white flag, the â€œBig Oneâ€ occurred and the caution was thrown. Replays showed Busch as the leader at the time of caution and he was declared the winner.
When he stopped at the flagmanâ€™s stand to get the checkered flag, he was greeted with the previously mentioned shower of cans and some boos, but as the TNT Television crew pointed out, there are a few more cheers every week.
Perhaps there will come a time in the future when Busch can remove his helmet to accept the cheers of the crowd. Well, that may be a bit of a stretch. It is probably a good idea for him to keep that helmet on for the time being. But one thing seems for certain, he is going to be getting more checkered flags as long as he keeps driving like he is and his car continues to perform as it has been.
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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