Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don’t let me down, Kyle

I’m a Kyle Busch fan. Yeah, I said it. Now I know 80% of you reading this probably despise Kyle, and you’re rolling your eyes as you sit in your National Guard pajamas and take another sip of your Amp Energy drink. Your loyalty will always remain with the driver of the #88, and I respect that. But I like being different. I also like the fact that the guy can wheel a race car around a track like no one I’ve ever seen. I had a Camry in high school, and I guarantee you it wouldn’t have made nearly as many trips to victory lane as the #18 did this year. Apparently not all Camrys are the same.

After being replaced with a "better driver" at Hendrick Motorsports, Busch found refuge in a stable of other drivers who are also driven by their innate desire to win. It didn’t take long for Wild Thing to make sure Joe Gibbs didn’t regret adding him to the team. With eight wins in the Cup Series and 19 total wins across all three series in the regular season, I was confident going into New Hampshire that Kyle would have a championship trophy to add to his collection come November.

Enter race four of the Chase and Kyle finds himself in last place, behind four drivers who failed to visit victory lane even once during the season. Kyle won eight times! How did this happen? I’ll admit that in previous years, Kyle’s recklessness and inexperience severely contributed to his demise, but with those issues resolved, or should I say seemingly under control, this was going to be Kyle’s year! What happened?!

There are seven races left, and sitting in 12th place in the standings Kyle has nothing to lose. But, maybe that’s how he wanted it. Maybe he was so bored with being all alone at the top of the field that he wanted to create some excitement and wanted a challenge. Maybe he thrives off of racing like he’s got nothing to lose. Maybe there’s a reason he feels at home in the middle of a three-wide pack. Maybe he wants to give fans of other drivers a glimmer of hope that their precious driver might win the title before he dominates the field once again.

The next few weeks will determine how this chapter in Kyle Busch’s racing career will unfold. No, I’m not burning my Kyle Busch man purse just yet, and I may or may not be mischievously lobbing M&M’s at the #88 car when the field comes to Charlotte in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll reflect on the highlights of a dominating 2008 season.

Remember this?

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