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Busch Takes Another Step Toward Hall, But…

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, December 5 2019
Kyle Busch takes bows. Also can be hard to stomach. (RacingToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacingToday.com

Kyle Busch is the driver you hate to love.

And now, after winning a second Cup Series championship, there is so much more to hate to love.

You’re aggravated by the guy because he comes off as a smerking punk.

You find tedious his constant whining about rules and aero packages and the difficulty of driving NASCAR Cup cars that drivers who raced in the Series 40 years ago could only dream about.

The dude oozes smugness like a slug oozes ooze.

You find yourself wanting to elbow yourself all the way down to the catchfence at the finish line so you can shout obscenities at him as he performs one of his victory bows because you know that those are less about celebrating than they are about raising a middle finger to his detractors both on the track and in the grandstands.

And personally, I never really enjoyed interviewing the guy. It ain’t fun suffering condescending words and expressions at the hands of young, arrogant millionaires for the crime of doing your job.

But you love the guy because right now he is flat out, the best wheelman in NASCAR. Perhaps one of the three or four best ever.

You just know that if his people got his car right and everybody else does their job correctly on race day, he’s going to win the race.

You just know that not even the great Dale Earnhardt Sr. could not have intimidated him into make a mistake. You know that if he’s on the front row for a restart he will hit the apex in Turn 1 with the lead.

And you know that his love for the sport goes well beyond thanking sponsors, and, oh yes, fans when somebody sticks a microphone in his face. Saying those things is absolutely obligatory for drivers who want to remain drivers.

And his whining about rules and competition is absolutely whining. But at the same time, his criticisms are also absolutely valid and need to be voiced. Whining in situation like this is preferable to blindly and silently toeing the official line when the lights on television cameras are glowing red.

Busch has made NASCAR’s two touring feeder series better by both driving in them and owning teams in them. He’s helped sell tickets and increase rating and he’s helped developed young drivers.

Busch is now a two-time Cup champion. Some say that number should be higher. Many say it will go higher.

He’s a no-brainer first-ballot Hall of Famer. Yes for all his Cup success but also for what he’s done overall in NASCAR. Two-hundred-plus race victories will always be 200-plus race victories and will not likely be approached ever again.

If he just wasn’t such a smirking, whiny punk.

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Good bye to the Monster. Seems your high energy drink couldn’t keep NASCAR fans from falling asleep.

Next year, the NASCAR’s Cup Series reverts to, well the NASCAR Cup Series.

Monster Energy came into Cup Series as title sponsor promising it would be “doing some really cool things with sponsorship.”

Looking back at its three-year run, about the only discernible contribution it made to NASCAR was awkwardly placing female, um, entertainers behind drivers being interviewed in the pits and Victory Lane.

They used the Hooters theory of marketing: Men won’t notice that the chicken wings they’re are eating are crap when their appetites are spoiled by sugary eye candy.

Monster Energy clearly did not fulfill its promise to make NASCAR hip again. It clearly didn’t create a mobbing of turnstiles.

And it is highly doubtful that come Speedweeks in February, fans will find themselves in a funk because Monster Energy has disappeared from their at-track and in-living room lives.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, December 5 2019
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