After the Richmond race weekend, Kyle Busch, left, found himself #1... twice. Not only is he first in the Sprint Cup points standings, but he also became public enemy #1.
Kyle Busch has always been hated but he crossed the line - and not the finish line - at the Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Speedway. Let us begin with the Nationwide Series race on Friday night.
All was fine in that race, Kyle Busch found himself a lap down but made it up and was third when the white flag waved. Due to typical last lap battling, Steve Wallace, right with his father Rusty, tapped Busch on the rear bumper, sending Busch up the track. Remember, Kyle Busch was in third when this happened. Kyle Busch regained control of his car and Wallace even let up so Busch wouldn't have to wreck him to get his spot back. When the checkered flag flew, Kyle Busch finished... third.
But the arrogant cockiness of Kyle Busch, believing himself to be superior to everybody else, decided to have a chat with Wallace after the race. He stuck his head inside Wallace's car and said some things which prompted Wallace - mind you he has ADD and Tourette's - to grab Busch's helmet. Busch yanked himself away and that was that. I have to ask, Busch still finished third and wasn't in contention for the win so why did he have to make a big deal about it? Because he's Kyle Busch, that's why. Judging by his actions, he's allowed to wreck everybody but no one is allowed to wreck him.
The real gem of this was Busch's interview. He used the clichéd "If you mess with the bull you get the horns" quote and then had the nerve to say on live TV, "I don't care, I'll wreck as many cars as I need to."
That right there sets up everybody's perception of him for any upcoming race. Of course, Wallace gets the upper hand in his interview when he calls Busch a "little girl." Here's a video for some laughs.
Onwards to the Sprint Cup race. Denny Hamlin, left, started on the pole, after winning the Nationwide race, and led 381 of the first 382 laps in a 400 lap race. Very boring if you ask me. A huge wreck, top right, that took out the likes of Jimmie Johnson (48), Matt Kenseth (17), and Kurt Busch (2) mixed things up a bit and a sparky ride, bottom left, by Casey Mears (5) being pushed by Michael Waltrip (55) also changed tempo. But Hamlin was still leading a boring race where only AJ Allmendinger under caution had led a lap.
That all changed on lap 383. Hamlin's tire was leaking air and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kyle Busch split Hamlin to fight for the lead. Junior won out and was well on his way to ending his 71 race winless streak when Hamlin's tire gave out and he stopped on the track to bring out a caution. Conspiracy theorist say Hamlin stopped on purpose to draw the caution to get Busch back onto Junior's bumper (Hamlin and Busch are teammates).
The race restarted on lap 395 with Junior in the lead. Junior and Busch battled each other for a few laps when they dived into a corner and Busch got loose underneath Junior. Yes, Kyle Busch, the most hated driver in NASCAR, wrecked the most popular driver in NASCAR.
Remember that comment he made in the Nationwide race?
During this melee, Clint Bowyer zipped by for the lead. The race ran under caution for a few more laps since fans were throwing things onto the track. On the green-white-checkered finish, Bowyer, left, had the help of Mark Martin trying to pass Busch to take the checkered flag for the second win of his career. I can certainly tell you I was torn with that wreck. On one hand I was angry Junior was wrecked by Busch, but on the other hand I was absolutely joyous that Bowyer took the lead since he's my favorite driver.
Cue the interviews. Kyle Busch did his best not to apologize for what he did. He sort of did but really didn't mean it. Someone needs to order up a punch in the face for him like Jimmy Spencer gave to his brother Kurt Busch. After that punch, Kurt Busch became a much better man.
With Junior's interview, he tried his danged best to not let his emotions get the best of him. It was one of the most depressing interviews I've ever seen. He didn't give blame to anybody, not even Busch, and took the high road. After that interview, you have to become a supporter of him if you weren't before. Not many drivers can control their emotions like Junior, pictured right, can.
The seriousness of Kyle Busch's situation was even stated by the race winner. Bowyer, being escorted into the press room by police, said that Kyle Busch needed the escort more than he did.
We'll have to see what happens with the younger Busch this Saturday as a repaved Darlington Speedway hosts another night race.
~ Chris, guest blogger