Monday, August 24, 2009

On the surprising maturity of Kyle Busch, comparing win totals, and Jason White

Just when you thought you had it all figured out, Kyle Busch comes back and shows you he's still the man in charge. First he dominated the late stages of Wednesday night's Camping World Truck Series race, then he makes a huge statement on Saturday night in winning the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol. Busch is still on the outside looking in as far as the Chase is concerned, but with two tracks that Busch excells at - Atlanta and Richmond - dead ahead on the schedule, Matt Kenseth must feel like a proverbial sitting duck.

But that wasn't the most pleasant outcome of the weekend concerning Rowdy. Busch had the dominant car on Friday night too but was taken out when Chase Austin had a flat tire and tried to make a hard left onto pit road while the leaders were approaching. The crash was a big one and Busch's night was cut short. Busch was mad when he hopped out of the car, but he ignored the cameras and microphones on his way back to the trailer and calmed down. When he came out and did speak it was a shocking display of maturity and diplomacy instead of the verbal dynomite that many expected. Busch has shown he can do it. From a PR standpoint, his sponsors must have been thrilled with what they saw after his unfortunate early night on Friday.

- Note to the broadcasters and anyone else that has caught on to this: Kyle Busch has not exceeded Lee Petty's mark of 54 career Sprint Cup wins. Yes, Busch has 55 career NASCAR National Touring Series wins (that's the Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Truck Series). But regardless of ESPN's efforts to make this a story the Nationwide and Truck Series wins simply do not carry as much weight as Cup wins do. Busch's win production is incredible, even in the Cup Series alone. Sixteen wins at this stage in his career is awesome. The 55 wins in all three series is equally awe-inspiring. But comparing that total to Lee Petty's career Cup win total is apples and paperclips. Also, keep in mind that Lee Petty didn't have a Nationwide Series or a Truck Series to compete in back in the 1950s and 1960s to bolster his win total.

- It was a nice surprise to see Jason White run competitively at Bristol and lead the race for more than half its distance. White has improved greatly even in the past couple of years and with the depth of the Truck Series field thinner than it has been in recent years it's nice to see some new names make it to the front from time to time. Unfortunately for White his pit strategy was just a tick off and he had to give up the lead, but he did show that he can race with the leaders and not be in over his head. Hopefully that team will have another opportunity to show its strength before the end of the season.

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