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Woody: Busch So Good It’s Scary

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, June 28 2010

Kyle Busch and Nationwide Series crew chief Jason Ratcliff prior to Saturday's race in New Hampshire. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

It may be time to restore the name of NASCAR’s second-tier division to the Busch Series.

Or, better yet, the Kyle Busch Series.

The young Vegas hot-shoe continued his rampage through the Nationwide Series record book with another dominating victory last Saturday at New Hampshire.

Another win, another record. Just another day at the Nationwide office.

Busch led 125 of the 200 laps, boosting his career lap-lead total to 8,117 and propelling the 25-year old racer into first place all-time ahead of veteran Mark Martin.

Busch has six wins in 13 races this season, and 36 wins in 186 starts since his debut in 2003. That ties him with Kevin Harvick for second place in Nationwide victories behind Martin’s 48.

But Martin’s 48 wins came over 21 years; Busch has accumulated his 36 victories in less than eight full seasons.

Busch ran away with the championship last year, winning nine times and finishing second in 11 other races. It was the most dominating performance in series’ history. He would be on his way to another championship romp this year if he elected to run the full schedule rather than opt for a partial one. (Actually Sprint Cup team owner Joe Gibbs “opted” for him.)

There have been some great drivers in series since its founding in 1950 as the Sportsman Division (re-named the Busch Series in 1995 and the Nationwide Series in 2008 to reflect its corporate sponsorships) but none more impressive than young Busch.

He’s so dominant it’s scary – scary for the sake of the series. He not only wins, but seems to win with ease, at times almost toying with the competition. His only problem could be a stiff back from taking so many post-victory bows.

There are two opinions about the effect of such a dominate driver on the series. Some believe it’s good to have a superstar at the top – especially an edgy, often controversial personality like Busch. Others are concerned that his total domination steals too much of the thunder –and paychecks – from the rest of the teams, especially the Nationwide-only outfits who are struggling to survive.

But like him or loathe him, nobody can dispute Busch’s talent as a racer. He has already established himself among history’s elite, and shows no indication of slowing down.

I recall an interview I did with Kyle’s older brother Kurt after he won the Cup championship in 2004: “Hey, if you think I’m a good driver, wait till you get a load of my kid brother,” Kurt said. “He’s the REAL racer in the family.”

Looks like he may be right – Kyle is indeed an amazing talent. Sometimes he can be immature, but you have to give him credit, he keeps things interesting. Right now he’s the king of NASCAR’s minor league on his way to major league stardom. And he’s just getting warmed up.

Imagine how good he’ll be when he gets some experience.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, June 28 2010
3 Comments

3 Comments »

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  • Stephen Hood says:

    The running joke in my house is to guess the ending top 4 running order in the Nationwide race. Busch? Keselowski? Logano? Edwards? Harvick? I guess if people find it fun to watch five drivers race each other week after week, so be it. But to declare someone dominant of a five car field seems like an overstatement to me. If a full-time Nationwide driver were dominating a field of Nationwide drivers, I’d declare that a feat, but the real story would be if Busch were not dominating the Nationwide series.

  • sharon says:

    He might have had a double header this weekend if not for Mr. Burton.