Being a huge "Rowdy" fan, even I am becoming confused on who the real Kyle Busch is. Is he this arrogant punk kid that laughs when he laps down the most popular driver in the series, or is he the kind-hearted, generous man that donates money and his time to people in need?
I think back of the first time I met Busch. It was during the spring Nationwide race at Nashville Speedway in 2008. I was excited to be down in the "fan zone" area with the opportunity to meet some of the best drivers in the series.
Some drivers detoured away from the fans, while others stopped to sign hats, shirts, and pose for pictures from fans who had been waiting for hours just to see them.
I sat back and waited, just for that one opportunity to get a picture of Busch.
You see, like some other fans, I saw the potential in him. I knew that his career would skyrocket. I knew that someday, he would be in a position to be almost untouchable by his fans, much like Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now. And there he was.
He was running late for qualifying and when he came buzzing by the fans, there was a mixture of people yelling for him to stop and sign autographs, and those booing him for being, well just Kyle Busch!
He could have kept going, not looking back, but he paused for a moment just to tell everyone he'd be back. A lot of fans didn't believe him, mainly because some of the other big name drivers never returned. But about an hour later, he appeared.
Busch started on one end of the long line of fans and worked his way to the end. I know, because I was at the end.
Those same fans that cursed him earlier, were reaching out for autographs and pictures. The generosity was there that day. The appreciation of the fans and his understanding of what they meant to the sport.
Fast forward to his interview after the race at Bristol this weekend.
Talking trash about Earnhardt, Jr., talking about how he likes to "play the part" and how he doesn't want everyone rooting for him. It makes me think that maybe everyone hating on him is getting to him.
I think Busch has just conceded that he will be the bad guy forever. He has won races, he has proved to be one of the most competitive drivers ever in the sport, and yet the fans don't give him a break.
He has shown kindness and it goes unnoticed, but being the bad guy gets him attention.
With a little more maturity on his part and time for some of the fans to let up, maybe we will see the true Busch shine through.
I know I'll be there when it happens, rooting for him each step of the way.