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Busch Brothers Do The Unthinkable At Richmond

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, May 2 2012

Kurt Busch fights it out with Denny Hamlin as they head to the finish line at Richmond. The winner was the Busch brothers. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

A wild finish, the right words, some genuine emotions and just like that the Busch brothers were not only removed from racedom’s most-hated list, but actually placed on the wonderfully sympathetic list. How long they stay on the WSL is, of course, another question.

Because while Americans can get quite sappy over things like puppies, babies with puppies, puppies with kitties and brothers sharing tears of joy, they can also get quite agitated when drivers from Las Vegas who are perceived by some to be spoiled little turds publicly dress-down television pit reporters and dent the fenders of cars driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The Busch brothers’ reversal of ill will came last Friday night at Richmond International Raceway. Kurt Busch, driving the then-winless Nationwide Series car owned by Kyle, got the victory.

Got it in high style, too. Kurt’s door-banging down-the-stretch action-o-rama with Denny Hamlin gave NASCAR what was prehaps its best finish since Kurt did the same thing with Ricky Craven at Darlington in 2003. If NASCAR races could produce that kind of action, those kinds of finishes on even a semi-regular basis, well, interest-level problems solved.

But the best part of the night, the list-changing part, occurred after the race. That’s when the Busch

Kurt and Kyle Busch took the first steps toward redemption with race fans over the weekend. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

brothers became every brother.

There they were. Two brothers who have spent large chunks of their NASCAR careers dwelling in the dark side actually flashing a human side. A humane side.

There were streaming tears and trembling voices after little brother Kyle stuck his head into the cockpit of the Kyle Busch Motorsports car and shared some brother time. “He just couldn’t believe that we got this car to victory lane,” big brother Kurt said when asked about it. “You could just feel his hand trembling of, ‘I’m an owner. I don’t know what to think,’ but he knows he could have drove this car today as well.”

Kyle probably made more friends among Virginia lovers and those who get syrupy about the racy old fairgrounds Richmond venue when he said after the race, ”Kurt reminded me that my first Nationwide Series win was here at RIR so this place is forever going to be special to both of us.”

Then it was Kurt’s turn again. American loves stories of contrition and redemption, and older brother displayed plenty of that when he alluded to 2011 troubles which resulted in him losing about everything he had worked for in racing.

“It’s huge for me and for this team,” Kurt said. “This December, January, February has been rough. To get on top no matter what series it is in NASCAR, you’ve done something special for a day and today was a long day. I’ve never been in the car at eight o’clock in the morning for practice and here we are in victory lane and just got to thank these guys and to have Monster with us. It’s an interesting family feeling right now, because I’ve raced for guys like (Roger) Penske, guys like (Jack) Roush – a guy named Busch owns this race car and it’s a little bit different feel.”

Yep, it was such a warm scene late Friday night in Richmond that you just had to believe that even Jimmy Spencer, Richard Childress and Jerry Punch were unable to stifle smiles.

But this is another week. Talladega week, yet. And as much as America loves sap, it hates having its emotions manipulated. It will be interesting to see if the Busch brothers’ reversal of disdain will stick or or slide down wall and puddle up on the floor..

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

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, May 2 2012
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