This past week at Phoenix International Raceway, upon completion of the Subway Fresh Fit 600, Kyle Busch made the largest improvement in the point standings of any driver. He moved from 18th place to 12th in points.
He got his second NASCAR Nationwide win of the season at the Bashas Supermarket 200 the previous night in Phoenix.
The win did not come easy as the chicanery with Brad Keselowski on a slow restart proved costly to him with a pass-through penalty.
His strategy with Brad was costly to other drivers as well when the restart tactics created a 10-car wreck.
Despite having to drop back to 19th position he blasted through the field. He was 10th on lap 193 of 200 and moved to second place in two laps.
The following lap he took the lead though he had complained of transmission trouble. The less-than-obvious tranny trouble failed to affect his incredible burnouts after taking the win.
A strange thing happened when he climbed from his car to collect the checkered flag: Fans cheered wildly.
Could it be the booing could become a thing of the past? Is the tide turning as the brash young man matures as a driver?
He still has tricks up his sleeve that could prove detrimental to other drivers. He still talks trash on the radio. He is still hard to find when he doesn't win or finish second.
Despite some of the characteristics that have defined the young, brazen driver, he can flat drive a race car.
He does not want to be compared to the great "Intimidator" and he should not be. His tough driving style and ability to come through a pack of cars is reminiscent of moves Dale Earnhardt Sr. would have made, though.
Kyle wants to win races and anything less is failure to him. He is maturing and learning how important big-picture racing is. Consistency and smooth driving is key to winning championships, a concept he appears to be grasping.
His attitude of win or wreck trying is no longer his mantra.
Kyle has made big changes this year. His ownership of a team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has raised his maturity level. The costliness of wrecked equipment has taken on new meaning. He now must negotiate with sponsors and no tempermental outbursts are allowed in that area.
Kyle proposed marriage to Samantha Sarcinella early this year and he could not be engaged to a better woman. She is a graduate of Purdue with a degree in psychology.
Though Kyle portrays the bad boy, he is really quite a nice guy to those who know him well.
He has a philanthropic side with the Kyle Busch Foundation which helps underprivileged children nationwide. He also works closely with Boys Town Nevada.
The driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing is going to win a NASCAR championship.
On the way, hopefully he won't lose his fiery disposition. We need personalities like Kyle Busch in NASCAR.
When Kyle straps on his helmet the villainous side of him comes to life.
It can truly spark excitement when he is on a dramatic charge for the lead, especially as he works his way through tight packs of cars. He is going to win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year and will almost certainly be in the Chase.
He has mastered the art of winning in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and now he must prove his talent in the top tier of NASCAR racing.
There are lots more cheers than boos in store for Kyle Busch.