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Pedley: Busch A Cold Customer

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, September 2 2010

Kyle Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers get serious in the garages. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Olathe, Kan. – Kyle Busch didn’t get the drift of the question when he was asked last week what his thoughts were as he sped toward his hook-up with history in Bristol two weeks ago.

Or did he?

Whatever. His answer and tone may go a long way in explaining something about what it takes to be the guy many believe is the best driver in North America.

During a brief meeting with the media prior to a public appearance at an indoor go-kart track, Busch was asked if his emotions were getting to him as he drew closer and closer to becoming the first driver to win all three of NASCAR’s major touring series events in the same weekend at the same track.

You know, like: Were you choking up with pride; puffing up thinking about all the great drivers who have been unable to do it; leaking a tear over fulfilling life-long dreams? Were you thinking about days long ago and putting on a helmet for the first time? Had to be, right?

His answer came back in monotone.

“I was just hoping there wouldn’t be a caution,” Busch said. “I didn’t want to have to go through another restart and deal with guys all around me. The other thing was, it looked like a couple guys in front of me had a tire going down or being squirrelly or something like that. I didn’t want to get too close to them. I didn’t want to have a problem right in front of me and cost us a race. You’re always worried about everything. You just try to be smart and make sure you keep everything relative when you’re coming to the checkered.”

Busch thinks not a bit about anything but winning when he’s in his office. His attitude seem to be almost that of; emotions are for losers.

His post-race bows appear to be more part of the act rather than public, spontaneous celebrations.

I guess the burnouts are an expression of joy and he does smile for the cameras in Victory Lane. But that all seems kind of perfunctory.

Perhaps the ability to cleanse oneself of emotions – or at least sublimate them – is what it takes to be the best of the best.

It certainly seems to work for Kyle Busch.

The victories and championships and top-fives and -10s in NASCAR’s touring series are piling up like winter snow in the Rockies for Busch.

Every race seems to feature wow moment after holy-cow-check out-that-move moment for the kid.

And Busch’s tone seldom changes.

Asked about accomplishing the incredible by winning the Camping World Trucks Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol last week, he maintained his cool, almost aloof, attitude.

“It doesn’t matter where history ranks it,” Busch said. “As far as where I rank it is a pretty big accomplishment. I think it’s right there with my Vegas win. My Vegas win is probably my biggest win in my career, being able to win in Vegas, my hometown, being able to watch that place be built and winning the Cup race out there. This year, being able to win the triple, I think it sits right there in being one of the most historic and well accomplished things that I’ve done in my career.”

Gosh, somebody said; things must be great at Joe Gibbs Racing right now with all the fast cars and victories and Chase berths top-dollar sponsors.

Busch: “Unfortunately Denny (Hamlin) had some problems this past weekend. I’m not sure what happened there. That was a bummer deal for those guys. Our stuff ran well and we obviously won the race but we’re back and forth sometimes. Sometimes we have a good weekend, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the car drives OK but I’ll hit the fence or get caught up in someone elses mess and have bad luck and not finish where we want to. But, we got two more races before the Chase starts and we’re hoping to carry the Bristol momentum through there. Atlanta is an OK track for me, Richmond’s a good track for me and then we get to the Chase so hopefully it goes good.”

The Hendrick Motorsports cars look vulnerable right now. That’s has got to be enticing.

Busch: “No. I can’t predict the future but they seem to turn it on when it counts.”

Heard from Brad Keselowski, whom you mixed it up with at Bristol in the Nationwide race?



Looking for emotion? Go to the movies.

Looking for a great race car driver? Busch is in Atlanta this weekend.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, September 2 2010