There was a time when I never would have admitted to being a Kyle Busch fan, his very existence in the NASCAR world threw off my very existence of being a fan of the sport.
In my eyes he was disrespectful, despicable and just plain rotten to the core.
Over the years he had been greeted by boos during driver introductions and in return dishes out just as much as he can take by defiantly bowing to a front stretch of angry “fans” with each and every win.
His driving style is aggressive and his personality, filter-less. At times, he even seems to lack the basic people skills required to conduct a thoughtful interview.
Not only does he rub spectators the wrong way, he consistently criticizes his fellow drivers to the media.
No one is above the law when it comes to Busch's wrath, he is an equal opportunity offender, just ask his own teammate Denny Hamlin.
Sparks and many an expletive flew after a tussle on the track at this year’s All-Star Race between the two Joe Gibbs drivers.
Angry over a move made in the final laps by Hamlin that sent Busch’s No. 18 Toyota into the wall, Busch furiously radioed to his crew, "Somebody better keep me away from that (bleeping) Denny Hamlin after this race or I'm going to kill that (bleeper). I swear to God I had this won. It was won!''
After climbing out of his car, Busch punched the air and instead of going to his team's hauler, he went directly into Hamlin's hauler, where he waited to confront his teammate after the race.
Hamlin took it all in stride.
“I just, I’m not going to put too much effort in it to be honest,” Hamlin said. “Kyle springs this stuff on himself and gets mad at the media for asking him about this. … Any drama he wants to create, it’s on him. Anything he says on the radio it’s on him.”
“Each year I think Kyle’s going to grow out of it, and he doesn’t,” Hamlin said. “And until he puts it all together . . . that’s when he’ll become a champion.’’
Even his own brother Kurt has publicly critiqued his sibling’s behavior.
After a wreck during the 2007 All-Star Race between the Brothers Busch, which took both drivers out of contention for the million-dollar purse, Kyle was heard over the radio threatening to kick his brother’s ass, but dodged a kin confrontation and the media by sneaking out of the track after in incident.
Kurt said in a post race interview, "I'm sure we'll talk to each other," he said. "It's just tough to have this scenario happen out on the track, but inevitably it was going to happen. We'll see what he has to say about it, and we'll see what we can do to discuss it -- but right now I'm not eating any Kellogg's (Kyle’s sponsor at the time) anytime soon."
In the end, neither brother was willing to take responsibility for the wreck, in fact, the two barely spoke to one another for the rest of the season, only burying the hatchet for the sake of their Grandmother, who asked that her Christmas present be that the brothers get along and spend the holidays together.
Silence is not always golden and a quiet Busch isn’t always a good Busch; often “Rowdy’s” actions speak louder than words.
Last year, we watched in disgust as he smashed a one-of-a kind Sam Bass trophy Gibson guitar in Victory Lane after winning the Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300.
Last night fans were outraged once again as Busch intentionally dumped Keselowski for the lead and eventually taking the checkered flag.
The crowd showed its disdain by booing audibly from the stands as Busch exited his car. Busch in turn put a new spin on things by trading his customary victory bow for a chance to mock the crowd by wiping his eyes like a crying, sucky baby.
The win didn’t come easy for Busch. He battled Keselowski for the lead for several laps before finally being able to make the pass with 31 laps to go. The two made contact and sent Busch back to the second position.
Busch hard charged Keselwoski’s bumper and deliberately spun him out.
"I raced him, raced him, raced him, I don't know, 12-15 laps? I thought I had him cleared up the back and I moved up in front of him and instead of him doing an (Dale) Earnhardt crossover, he decided to just run into the back of me and put me in the fence," Busch said.
"That's Brad Keselowski. So I went down into the next corner and I dumped him. He does it to everybody else, why can't I do it to him?"
Hey, sometimes you got to spin it to win it and payback is an ugly bitch, just ask Keselowski.
Say what you want about the "Shrub", but the boy’s got talent. He has already celebrated in Victory Lane twice this week at Bristol and could easily make it a sweep Saturday night.
His antics may be over the top, but they make him the perfect villain for the sport and a fan out of me.
Kyle Busch is the perfect showman, a true ambassador for our sport. We don’t tune out because we can’t stand to sit around just to see what he is going to do next, we stay tuned in just so we can see what he is going to do next!
It's kismet really.
Its ok to hate the player because he makes for such an entertaining game that we so love to watch, in fact we can’t get enough.
Update: Busch made history in Bristol by winning the Sprint Cup Race Saturday night. He is the first driver to win in all three national races in one week at the same track.