Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Difference Between Kurt and Kyle Busch

Undeniably, Kyle Busch’s emergence with Joe Gibbs Racing – in Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Trucks – has been the top story of 2008. To go along with that, Busch has become the newest villain in NASCAR, and he makes a good one: young, unafraid, and most importantly, loaded with talent. His performances at Richmond and Darlington just go along with the rest – breathtaking moments at the Daytona 500, his convincing win at Atlanta, three Nationwide wins in a row and leading more laps than anyone, passing trucks on the apron at Atlanta, and numerous more moments. It all compares to the emergence of his older brother, Kurt, in the 2002 Cup season. It was that year Busch had his coming out party in Cup, when he moved Jimmy Spencer out the way en route to his first win at Bristol, followed in the fall by triumphs at Martinsville, Atlanta, and Homestead. Busch continued winning, right up until he was punched in the face by Jimmy Spencer. See, over the course of that time, Busch’s ego went out of control, and it took him getting a bloody nose to see some of the errors of his ways. But, those lessons never took, and Busch ended up getting suspended by his own team for an encounter with the law in Phoenix, and his move to Penske Racing has rendered him little of the fan support from Rusty Wallace, which he sought when he left Roush, and after his runner-up finish in the year’s 500, Kurt has been an afterthought in Cup competition.

That brings me to what I believe is the difference between the two. I don’t think Kyle is as arrogant, as condescending, or has the chip on his shoulder that Kurt did, and still does. Granted, some of that may be because Kyle watched his brother go through a lot, but they’re two different people and I don’t think Kyle will find himself getting deservedly punched in the face (he still may get punched, obviously). As I mentioned earlier, Kurt left Roush so he could try and inherit the fan base of Rusty Wallace. He and the Roush camp had their share of problems, but it is undeniable that he put the #97 on the map while he was there, but the resulting collateral damage is why we haven’t seen, and probably won’t see it return for some time. The best move Kyle could have made was signing with Joe Gibbs after getting kicked out of Hendrick’s stable. Kyle could very well have been heading down the same path as his brother. It was obviously tough sticking around for the rest of the year, but he made the best of it, and is now where he can be allowed to be himself – not part of Hendrick’s corporate image. Gibbs, allowing Kyle some rope to act, is able to concentrate on driving… and it shows. Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin have had nothing but success with Gibbs, and it’s because they can be themselves.

It’s for that reason that I see Kyle eventually becoming more popular and staying more relevant than his brother in Sprint Cup, or whatever it’ll be called in the future.


3 said...

Funny...Kurt got his ears pinned then fell off the face of the earth!

Cheyenne said...

"I don’t think Kyle is as arrogant, as condescending, or has the chip on his shoulder that Kurt did, and still does."
Really? Do you honestly believe that? I don't...not for one minute. The chip on Kyle's shoulder is huge and he can say how wonderful it is to be with Gibbs all he wants ~ the fact of the matter is, he is severly impaired by being tossed from HMS. Ask anyone who has been tossed from a job. Same thing. I think it will take Kyle a good while till he gets over that one. Meanwhile, he gives digs to HMS and especially Dale Jr. And don't even get me started on his so-called humor. Sorry, but I think Kyle is also trying to get out from his big brother's shadow...something he has had to do all his life. I'm not being a meanie here, just stating my thoughts.