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Hood: Not All Knuckles Are On Busch’s Fingers

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, November 12 2010

Emoting has never been a problem for Kyle Busch during his NASCAR career. (File photo by Gregg Ellman- Pool/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

I was able to catch popular comedian Frank Caliendo’s act on Tuesday at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. I walked away in pain after laughing so much.

Ironically, NASCAR announced the following day that the popular impersonator will headline the Sprint Cup awards banquet in Sin City next month.

Outstanding choice.

Caliendo’s impersonation of several celebrities, including former NBA great Charles Barkley, was dead-on.

When Caliendo entertains the NASCAR crowd, I’m sure the word “knucklehead” will be used several times during the Barkley segment. There’s also a good chance a few folks in the crowd will glance over at Kyle Busch each time that word is uttered.

Busch made headlines for the wrong reason earlier this week when he was nailed with a $25,000 fine for making an obscene gesture to a series official while sitting in his car on pit road at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

But many fans may not be aware that the Las Vegas native went on a mini-tirade a day earlier after finishing second to Carl Edwards in the Nationwide Series race at the 1.5-mile oval.

After performing his trademark backflip at the start-finish line much to the delight of the

Kyle Busch at Richmond in September. (File photo courtesy of NASCAR)

crowd, Edwards proceeded to climb through the start-finish line gate and celebrate with the fans.

Simultaneously, Brad Keselowski took a victory lap around the track in his No. 22 Dodge after cliniching the championship in NASCAR’s junior circuit.

But leave it to “Rowdy” to put a dark cloud over the afternoon’s feel-good stories.

Busch was livid because he felt race-leader Edwards had jumped the restart during the green-white-checkered finish.

It didn’t take the runner-up finisher very long to drop the F bomb after fielding a couple of questions in the infield media center.

Question: “What happened on the final restart?”

Busch: “Carl Edwards jumped the restart by about three lengths before the double red marks.”

Question: “Did you talk to NASCAR officials about it?”

Busch: “Does it f—— matter? The race is over. The guy’s in victory lane. It doesn’t matter.”

Exit Busch.

On Sunday morning, Busch was still seething over losing to Edwards. So near the conclusion of the Cup driver’s meeting, Busch asked for a clarification of the restart rule. He began his question with, “Excuse my ignorance…”

Race director David Hoots responded by saying the leader has the option to restart the race within the single and double-red lines on the outside wall. But once the leader hits the single-red line, the flagman will restart the race.

Several hours later, Busch would go on to incur the wrath of NASCAR by offering a single-finger salute to an official for all the world to see from his in-car camera.

There is no doubt that Busch is one of the most-talented drivers in the history of the sport.

But he also seems to find a way to shoot himself in the foot about once a month.

A week prior to his blowup in Texas, Busch walked away with a controversial win in Talladega, Ala. in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series. There was some question as to whether he legally went below the yellow line prior to the finish line as he passed Aric Almirola for the win.

Busch looked like the cat that ate canary as he walked away with the trophy that evening.

But let one call go against him and he wants to bitch and moan to everyone within earshot.

I have a lot of respect for Kyle Busch, primarily because he maintains a strong presence in the grassroots of the sport.

I was on-hand to watch him win the Snowball Derby in his Super Late Model car in Pensacola, Fla. last December. I saw him duplicate that feat by winning SpeedFest at Lanier National Speedway near Atlanta in January.

Busch won’t win this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, but he’s still enjoyed another banner season in NASCAR’s top three touring series.

Personally, I’m hoping Busch’s next victory is right around the corner.

That’s the one where he finally sheds the “knucklehead” image.

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, November 12 2010
One Comment

One Comment »

  • Terry says:

    I think the NEO-NASCAR and Kyle are perfect for each other…..
    I big ole’middle digit for both of them…..