It's Time to Face the Facts

Brian KennedyCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2008

Kyle Busch can officially take Jeff Gordon's nickname away from him; the Wonderboy of Nascar. After winning his 6th race of the season at Daytona, Busch took it all in as the fans showered him with boos. This should come as no surprise for the hottest driver in Nascar. In 1998, 27 year-old Jeff Gordon was basking in the same shower of boos during his ridiculous 13 win season. But even while Busch receives boos, he also surprisingly receives cheers. Why does Kyle Busch, the most hated driver in Nascar get cheered? Because fans are finally realizing that this kid is something special. From Craftsman Trucks, to ARCA, to the Car of Tomorrow, Busch has proven that he can drive anything that has wheels on it. If tank racing became a sport, rest assured Kyle Busch would contest for a win. If Nascar drivers entered into the Tour De France, Busch would be drinking Champagne after the 22nd day of cycling. (He is old enough to drink right?) The guy cannot be stopped, and at 23, he is trying to become the youngest Sprint Cup Champion ever. If you are new to the sport, realize this, Kyle Busch has been good since he began racing.

Since joining Nascar in 2003, Busch has put himself in another league from others. In 2005, Busch became the youngest driver to win a Craftsman Truck Series race at age 20. One year later, Busch took on the persona of "Rowdy" Busch, paying homage to Bobby Hamilton who was the stunt driver for the movie and battling cancer. Busch made sure he fit the role, wearing a fuchsia and black firesuits, and having his truck painted black with the #51 on the side. (Where's Robert Duvall when you need him?) Since the debut of "Rowdy", Busch has been on a tear, winning truck series races almost weekly.
After proving himself in the tailgate series Busch moved up to Minor Leagues of Nascar, the Nationwide Series. Busch took Rookie of the Year honors with little contention from anyone else. He won 5 races, and finished second to eventual champion Martin Truex Jr. It didn't take long for Busch to make the jump into the Sprint Cup Series. After Terry Labonte announced a limited schedule for the 2005 season, Busch was tabbed as Labonte's replacement. Near the end of the 2005 season, Busch raced a limited schedule and won his first Sprint cup race at California Speedway at age 20. Not only was he the youngest winner in the truck series, he was now the youngest winner in the Sprint Cup series. (Seeing a pattern here?) Busch continued his success in 2006 winning at New Hampshire and qualifying for his first ever Nextel Cup Chase. When Nascar changed to the Car of Tomorrow in 2007, it was Busch who saw Victory Lane for the first time in one of the cars. In 2008, Busch became the first driver to give Toyota its first win in the Sprint Cup.

Even while Busch has the babyface to go with his age, he has a Jimmy Spencer like mentality. He has had controversial moments that have fans crying foul. His most recent came in Richmond. Everyone knows the story. It's two laps to go, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the verge of breaking his losing streak when Kyle Busch gets loose and take out Junior. It was driver error, and Junior nation will not soon forget that memory. In 2005 during the Nationwide Series Mexico race, Busch took out native Adrian Fernandez, which infuriated the crowd. Busch seemed as if he didn't care about the incident. Last year at Texas, Busch left the track after a wreck took him out. This was a memorable moment in Nascar because Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked to drive the car for the rest of the race. Months later, Busch left Hendrick Racing for Joe Gibbs. The rest as you might have guessed it, is history. Busch loves the attention and loves to be the villain. The boos he receives each week only fuels his fire to do better.

After these past few months showings, Kyle Busch is going to be, if not already, the new face of Nascar. Jeff Gordon is getting to the point that wins and championships are harder to come by. Jimmie Johnson is still trying to find his step, and Carl Edwards seems to be the new Mark Martin finishing 2nd numerous times. If Busch continues down this successful road, there is no telling how many championships he will win in the coming years. If you hate Kyle Busch, he considers you a fan. Why? Because you are giving him more attention than your own driver. Had a Snickers lately? If you haven't, I suggest you get one and support Kyle Busch, the new Wonderboy of Nascar.