Will the Real Kyle Busch Please Stand Up?

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IAugust 29, 2009

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 22:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2009 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

What happened to the Rock'em, Sock'em style of racing that Bristol was famous for at one time?

Gone are the helmet throwing, bump and grind, temper flaring attitudes, and of course, the one finger salutes that made this one the most popular races of the season.

Bristol was known for bringing out the worst in any driver. It was a place that you left your somber feelings at home, and instead you brought your worst, most horrible, gut-wrenching attitudes that you ever thought possible, and then had them in attack mode.

What is it that got the racing Gods so upset that they took away the track's identity and replaced it with an episode out of the Twilight Zone?

It was like some unexpected and unexplainable extraterrestrial came in and sucked the wind right out of the track.

What we have been witnessing is a watered down version of the Bristol of old. There were no fights, and of course there were no bad attitudes after the race.

But instead, each driver meticulously found their groove and basically stayed within those boundaries as if Mike Helton himself were standing out there waiting to hand out some stiff penalties for aggressive driving.

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Where was Jimmy Spencer when the series needed him the most? Or for that matter, where was Kyle Busch?

Did he finally get a dose of what reality has been trying to teach him, and now we will see a watered down version of Busch, just like Bristol?

He didn’t act this way back in 2007, when he who won the inaugural race for the C.O.T. at this same track.

Busch made a statement that both J.G.R. and NASCAR were not to happy with when he was asked after the race what he thought about the new car.

His answer was: "It sucks."

That was then, and this is now: "To race in the Sprint Cup Series with all these guys is really an honor. Mark Martin, what a class act. He deserved to win this race, and I’m sorry he came home second--I know how he feels."

When has Busch ever said he was sorry? And to say he was sorry that Martin did not win was little too far-fetched for Busch's brash attitude.

We have already seen Busch’s dark side, and he has never been that forgiving when it came to finishing anywhere but first.

“It looked [like a] pretty big [mistake] to me,” Busch said. “It cost the winning car the chance to win the race.”

Busch would then go on to really let the NASCAR world how he felt.

“Some guys having some bad days and not doing their best out there, they made their bad day our bad day, and we had a problem. It was just unfortunate that two guys got together that were a lap down and were fighting over nothing.”

With his comments after the race at Bristol last weekend, Busch put himself in a catch-22 position, and it is showing in all the mixed reactions from the fans.

But whatever you want to call it, he is once again drawing the most attention when you look at all the different angles that have been written about his actions.

Put yourselves in the shoes of a publicist and ask yourself: Is this really the way you want your driver to act?

Does the sport really need a driver who can’t make up his mind how he will act from week to week?

For today, he is exactly what NASCAR needs in these trying times. NASCAR needs a driver who can keep the fans in suspense, and at the same time keep them coming back for more, whether it's good or the bad.

Busch is not only brash, but he is also a hard-driven talent that at times can overshadow his shortcomings.

How can a true fan of the sport actually hate on a driver who is bringing the excitement back to the sport that was lost back in 2001, especially when his desire is not to be the most popular driver in NASCAR, but instead to win races?

“I’m not out there to be No. 1. We all know who No. 1 is and forever will be. To me, I go out there to win races, to be No. 1 on the racetrack. That’s where I feel like I win, where my benefit is.”

So just how far will Busch carry the knife that he feels is still sticking out of his back? A knife that most fans have taken the liberty to stick in him, and for no other reason than they just don’t like him.

Is that any way to treat any driver, especially a driver who is content with the fan base that he already has?

“For me, I don’t think I would enjoy having the most fans out there. I actually like the way I am, the role I portray. And I think that there’s probably too much pressure on one guy’s shoulders that doesn’t seem to win very often.”

Bring back the Busch, as well as the comments that his fans are used to hearing.

"If the second-place driver dumps the leader, then black flag his ass. He doesn’t get the win.”