By admin | July 19, 2009
By Richard Allen
Let me begin by saying I like Kyle Busch. Before you scroll down to the comment section to condemn me for that statement, allow me explain.
First, he is one of the most talented drivers to come along in NASCAR in a long time. When people talk about his pure driving talent names like Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Tim Richmond are typically mentioned in comparison. Watching him drive is more often than not a thrill a minute.
Another reason for me and anyone else who comments or reports on NASCAR to like him is that he provides plenty of material for discussion. He is like the chocolate syrup on otherwise vanilla Sundays.
However, along with the behavior that has livened up the sport, there comes a somewhat self-destructive nature. In a sense, this showed last year during the Chase for the Championship. Busch began the Chase with a lead due to the fact that he had the most wins. But, a poor finish in the first playoff race seemed to cause both he and his crew to press and make uncharacteristic mistakes.
Last year’s Chase for Busch took the appearance of a driver and a team that unexpectedly had an early problem and then did not have the patience to chip away at their loses. It was as if they had to make it up right away in the next race. Seemingly, a mistake of youthful immaturity.
This last race in Chicago demonstrated another side of Busch’s nature that could wind up costing him a Chase spot.
Early on in the Lifelock.com 400 Busch complained to his crew that his car was not handling well. After adjustments made during pit stops did not seem to help the situation the driver apparently lost his cool and decided to provide a permanent fix for the problem.
While leaving pit road after a mid-race stop, Busch revved the engine beyond its limits. Looking from the camera mounted on the rear of his car it was obvious the crew was not pleased with his actions as a couple of them put their arms out to their sides as if to say, “What are you doing?”
Predictably, within a few laps, the driver reported to the crew that he might have lost a cylinder. Finally, after 257 laps the engine let go. This resulted in a 33rd place finish. The poor finish dropped Busch two places in the standings to 10th overall. He is now only thirteen points ahead of 13th place Greg Biffle.
What if Busch is faced with an ill handling car in Bristol, Michigan or Richmond, and for a moment, forgets the gravity of the situation and childishly decides he doesn’t want to drive such a bad car any longer? Perhaps he again over-revs the engine and blows it up, which could result in a 40th place finish. Such a finish might just push him out the top-12 and leave him on the outside looking in on the championship playoff.
Busch wants to win every race, and there is definitely something to be said for that in an era when so many are willing to settle for a ‘good points day’ right from the outset of a race. However, every driver has to come to the realization that no one is going to win every race. And sometimes, a ‘good points day’ has to be good enough.
There are times when Busch does not demonstrate the maturity to accept that. It could cost him.
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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