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Kyle Busch’s immaturity could cost him a Chase spot

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 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.

Topics: Articles |

10 Responses to “Kyle Busch’s immaturity could cost him a Chase spot”

  1. Mary Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Joe or J.D. Gibbs needs to have a serious talk with Kyle. He’s being his own worst enemy and doing nothing to help team morale.

  2. Rachel Gaines Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Richard, I only want to point out one factual misstatement in your column: the blown engine did not cause Kyle’s 33rd place finish. He was running 33rd at the time the engine blew and had been running in that position for some time on a lap of his own, several laps down to the leaders. He could not have made up any ground unless someone else went behind the wall - which did not happen. So, even though I agree with your sentiments in theory, in reality, blowing the engine did nothing to affect his finish or his points standing. The ill-handling car was the cause of both.

    Another driver might have let himself go a lap down early and simply nurse the car to a mid-20’s finish, but Kyle is not “another driver.” Regardless of the practicality of points racing, he is always trying for the win. I really can’t fault him for that.

  3. Richard Allen Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:13 am

    My point was that he would have been running higher than 33rd had he not hurt the engine.

    The crew may have been able to adjust on the car to make its handling improve. There was nothing they could do about the lost cylinder.

  4. blake Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Rachel, plesase read article before commenting.

    Rich, I’m not much of a fan of Kyle, but I do respect his ability, you’re exactly right.

  5. Carol Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    I agree 100%…I was listening to Kyle and Tony Stewart on the scanner at Chicago race. What a difference in the two…Kyle was beratting his crew chief and crew and complaining, complaining the whole time. It was obvious he was going to do something as he wanted to just go into the pits as the car was undriveable and he kept whining about how terrible the car was, how bad his crew was. On the other hand, Mr. Stewart has sure matured as when the crew left off a lugnut and felt terrible about it, Tony told them not to worry, he could make it up. What a difference…yes, maybe Kyle will mature…it isn’t impossible because Tony has sure matured and look what has happened with him…he is now a premiere owner and driver with a great future…Kyle, must learn and do the same.

  6. The Old Guy Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Just think how scary it will be when his temperament begins to parallel his talent.

    He has proven that he can drive anything, anywhere and win.

    Joe Gibbs will eventually sit him down and read the rules to him, as he did with Tony Stewart, and as he has done with many a football player. I’m just not sure that JG wants to put a damper on that fire at this time.

  7. Dave Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Let’s just say that Kyle Busch isn’t very well like within the JGR organization by the everyday employees. They love that he wins, but he’s a jerk from what they’re all saying.

  8. Mike Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 8:48 pm


    Talk about reading first. Rachel said they could have helped the handeling, but not the engine. She’s right, you missed her point.

  9. Kent Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    The troubles he has could not happen to a more deserving person. He is utterly and completly classless. Million dollar ability connected to a ten cent brain.

    While I respect his impressive talent,I wish Jimmy Spencer was still driving to give him a little humility like he did to his brother.

  10. Rachel Gaines Says:
    July 23rd, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Blake, I have no idea what you are talking about.