Busch’s actions overshadowing his talent and potential

Published 10:02 pm Saturday, July 11, 2009

Last week, my pick to avoid the “big one” and win the race in Daytona was Kyle Busch. Neither of my predictions came to fruition, if only for half a lap, but Busch’s reputation of a loud mouth has not suffered.

Busch was leading the race coming out of turn four on the final lap when Tony Stewart, the eventual race winner, attempted a pass on the outside. Busch, evidently not thinking that Stewart had enough momentum to make the pass, moved up the track to make the block.

It was too late. The nose of Stewart’s Chevy was already on Busch’s quarter panel and “The Shrub” was turned into the wall. In my view, Busch was clearly at fault. Stewart had the spot and Busch moved up where there was no space.

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The resulting pingpong wreck, while not as spectacular as Carl Edwards’ wild ride at Talladega, was hard. Busch finished the race in 14th position and was in no mood to talk to the media after the race. He pulled the obligatory “fast walk through the pits, not paying attention to anyone, with a scowl on the face, trying to get to the team hauler” act. He’s become a pro at that move.

Speaking of Carl Edwards, he was in a very similar position last spring at Talladega, with the same result as Busch’s. He wrecked and the car behind him, in this case Brad Keselowski, went on to win the race. Only difference is that Edwards manned up and gave his thoughts to the fans and the media after the race.

Only after arriving in Chicago to prepare for this week’s race did Busch address the incident. Of course, he did nothing wrong and Stewart “punted” him into the fence. Even after Stewart’s apparently sincere explanation of the wreck in Victory Lane at Daytona and personal apology in Chicago, Busch felt Stewart was wrong and went to great lengths to make his feelings known.

I have said before, Kyle Busch is as talented of a racecar driver as anyone that has ever climbed into a car. Time might prove him to be the best ever, but he is a loud-mouthed knucklehead that has had too much success too early. His ability is so natural that it comes too easy. Let’s hope that someone, at some point, makes him realize that having a little class and humility is important too.

The first big driver move of 2009 happened this week as Martin Truex officially announced plans to move to Michael Waltrip Racing for the 2010 season. Napa Auto Parts will remain with MWR and sponsor Truex in the No 56 Toyota next season.

Where does that leave Bass Pro Shops and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing? To me, Bass Pro Shops will be going somewhere other than EGR and EGR will be going nowhere, and fast.

Despite Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s troubles this season, I wonder how the story would have been told differently if Teresa Earnhardt had worked to keep Junior at what once was DEI? Surely would have been a lot different, for the better.

My pick to win at Chicagoland Speedway this week is Mark Martin.