Last night, I finally figured out why non Nascar fans find racing boring. It was evident early in the race that nobody had anything that could run in the same zip code, much less area code of the 18 car of Kyle Busch. I got so bored I went outside and looked up at the stars, or as many as I could see in the cloudy South Carolina sky.
Back in the 1960's, Big Bill France went to great lengths to try to make the racing equal for all manufacturers. His son, Little Bill did much the same thing in the 1970's through the 1990's. Now Brian France has the reigns of Nascar, and he's monkeyed with the sport quite a bit. I'm not so sure I'm a fan of the lucky dog pass. I agree that the cars probably don't need to be racing back to the yellow flag, when a car is sitting helpless, sideways on the track. If it means greater safety for the drivers, I'm all for it. If the head and neck restraint system, commonly known as the HANS device had been mandated before the 2001 racing season started, Dale Earnhardt probably would have grumbled about it, probably a lot. But he might still be alive. Had it been mandated before the 2000 racing season, Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty might still be with us.
The new car, formerly known as the Car Of Tomorrow was meant to be safer, and also level out the playing field. It would appear that the playing field is not, in fact, level however. Kyle Busch won his 7th Cup race of 2008 at Chicagoland last night. I will congratulate him for an astonishing year, and am willing to recognize that the Wild Child does indeed have talent. But I have to ask you, how much talent does it take to run out front, virtually every race, with no competition around to make it interesting? Crew chief Steve Addington is an absolute genius, and Kyle must be the best driver in the history of the sport, or is there something else going on?
Toyota debuted in Nascar's elite series for the first time last year. They had a very dismal year. For 2008, Toyota somehow convinced long time GM race owner Joe Gibbs to switch from Chevrolet to Toyota. Head engine guru Mark Cronquist took charge of the engine program, with a lot of help from Toyota, and he's apparently a genius too. Nobody, from any other automobile manufacturer, with anyone at the wheel can keep up with the 18 car of Kyle Busch.
What's strange about this is that neither can his teammates. Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin are both winless this year in the Cup series. Supposedly they have the same engines, the same chassis as Kyle does, but they can't keep up. Tony is leaving after 2008, going back to Chevrolet with Stewart-Haas Racing, to be an owner and a driver. Why leave when Toyota is so good, so suddenly?
Tony is a 2 time Cup Champion with over 30 wins to his credit, and each victory in Nascar has come in that famous orange number 20 Home Depot car. Tony is known as a late starter, not usually winning until the season is well under way. But Tony looks like a chump when he's trying to chase down his teammate, the next Dale Earnhardt, the next Jeff Gordon, the next, dare I say it? Richard Petty? I've heard all those names used in comparison with Kyle Busch.
Next Dale Earnhardt? Heck no. Richard Petty? Forget about it. Jeff Gordon? Nope. Not enough class. If Kyle Busch would just grow up, I might be able to admire him. But I can't admire a person who consistently acts like a spoiled brat. Even his older brother, Kurt, doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with him. Kyle seems to rejoice in the boos he receives at the track, making his sarcastic bows, and basically irritating fans over virtually every other driver out there.
I'm a Kyle Busch fan. He's not my favorite driver, but I've been watching this sport since about 1971. I've watched the King battle the Silver Fox. I've seen Cale battle Bobby. I've seen Earnhardt battle Jaws. I appreciate people that can drive these cars on a track with 42 other cars. I'm a fan of all of them when it comes right down to it. They've all got way more talent at driving than I will ever have. So I can say I'm a Kyle Busch fan. I never want to see any of these people get hurt. I've seen too many drivers die, both on the track and off. Fireball Roberts. Alan Kulwicki. Davey Allison. Neil Bonnett. Kenny Irwin. Adam Petty. Dale Earnhardt. I've seen a lot of near death experiences too. Bobby Allison. Ernie Irvan. Steve Park.
What these guys do is incredible. The fact that they can do it at all is amazing to me. I never want to see any of these guys carted off on a stretcher. It's happened before, and it will happen again, but I hate to see anyone get hurt in this sport. I wish I could say I like Kyle Busch, but I can't honestly say that.
He started his professional career with Rick Hendrick, and had a decent, but not very distinguished career there. He was let go last year to make room for Dale Earnhardt Jr. This year, apparently is the year of Kyle. He's won in all 3 series this year. He's gathered a few fans, but irritated many more with his sarcasm. If I had to guess, the average Kyle Busch fan is about 13, and likes to sass their parents. Darrell Waltrip is much older, but he probably sassed his parents too.
I hope that in it's infinite wisdom, Nascar will find a way to truly level the playing field. This sport is too important to me to just walk away from it, but I'm afraid if I see many more races like I watched Friday and Saturday night, that might be just what I'll do.
Please don't forget to check out the Tiredawg's auction to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. You can find the auction here! To read more about the Victory Junction Gang Camp, just click Here! This is a very worthy cause folks, and Tiredawg is doing this out of the goodness of his heart. He does great work, as you will see. Please do all you can to support a great charity, started by Kyle and Patty Petty in memory of their son Adam. Own a one of a kind tribute diecast that depicts the famous colors of both Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. All the proceeds will go to the VJGC, and Kyle, Patty, and the King himself will appreciate it!