Kyle Busch column
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 27, 2010 1:47 PM
At 25 years old, Kyle Busch's list of accomplishments on a race track reads like those of a grizzled veteran or perhaps two.
His list of on-track incidents and confrontations sounds more like that of an inexperienced rookie still on the journey toward maturity.
Busch has 70 career wins in NASCAR's top three series since making his debut in a truck series race in 2001 as a junior in high school.
The Las Vegas native has 18 career Cup victories, 59 top-five finishes and 92 top-10 finishes since his debut in NASCAR's premiere series in 2004.
Busch is one of only six drivers with multiple victories as a rookie and in 2008 he set a record with 21 victories in NASCAR's top three series. He is also the youngest driver in Sprint Cup history to capture a pole and qualify for the Chase for the Cup.
Busch also has 31 Nationwide Series victories and a 2009 championship to his credit. That same year, he tied a series record with 25 top-five finishes and posted 30 top-10s in 35 starts.
In February of 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in California, Busch won a Nationwide and Truck Series race on the same day. He became the first driver in NASCAR history to win two races in one of the top three series on the same day.
Busch has won 18 Truck Series races while compiling 38 top-fives and 54 top-10s in 78 career starts. He is also currently the owner of his own Truck Series team -- Kyle Busch Motorsports.
There's no denying Busch's on-track ability and his place as arguably the sport's most talented driver. It's been his emotions and not another driver that have proven to be his fiercest competition.
A wreck with older brother Kurt during the 2007 All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway that knocked them both out of the race.
Busch has also had multiple run-ins with Dale Earnhardt Jr., the driver that replaced him at Hendrick Motorsports.
A post-race incident with Carl Edwards in August of 2008 at Bristol resulted in NASCAR placing both drivers on probation for six weeks.
Last season Busch found himself in the midst of a well-documented spat fueled by on-track incidents with former Hendrick teammate Brian Vickers.
Busch's most-recent, post-race tirade came at the conclusion of last Saturday night's All-Star Race when Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin blocked him late in the race, which sent Busch into the wall. Busch went from racing for the lead to out of contention.
He could be heard screaming in anger over his in-car radio and immediately drove his car to Hamlin's hauler. What later ensued was a meeting between Gibbs, Busch and Hamlin in hopes of defusing the situation.
During Jimmy Johnson's recent domination of NASCAR, the sport has desperately needed a driver capable of not only challenging Johnson for championships, but being the driver fans latch on to.
Until recently, Busch was easily the most despised driver in NASCAR, not just by fans, but by his peers as well. While Johnson seems to have inherited the role of "driver fans love to see lose the most," Earnhardt Jr., the sport's most popular driver continues to struggle.
Kyle Busch possesses not only the talent, but also the charisma to become the face of NASCAR. Winning races and championships isn't what's keeping him from that distinction. Kyle Busch is.
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