You don't have to like Kyle Busch. In fact, you can hate his guts and pull against him every time he starts a motor if that's what floats your boat.
But let me tell you this. After Sunday's race at Bristol, which Busch dominated for his 14th career Cup victory, he provided a pretty solid definition for what it takes to be a racer.
The question was whether he uses the reaction he gets from fans -- boos and jeers, primarily -- to fuel the fire that burns within him.
"Not really." he said. "I think it's cool it works that way, but I don't use it.
"What I use is the car in front of me. If there's a car in front of me, I'm going to chase him. ... I want to pass that guy. If I'm the leader, there's another car in front of me, he's going a lap down. The more guys you get a lap down, the more you don't have to deal with at the end of the day. There's always some motivation to go forward. There's always somebody ahead of you that you can pass that's going to mean something. Even if you are the leader."
So Kyle Busch wants to beat people. He wants to do better than you do, no matter who you are. That is the absolute definition of competition. That's why you're in professional sports. You're not there just to have a good time. You can do that on a lower level. But if you're going to be in the big leagues, and that's what Sprint Cup racing is, that's not the measure.
Fans who don't like Busch probably want somebody to shut him up. There's a way do to that, of course, and that's to start beating him as often as Busch has been handing everybody their hats this season and last. Busch has won 10 times and finished in the top five 20 times in 41 races with Joe Gibbs Racing. He's led 2,190 laps in those races, too. That's getting the job done.
Busch took a little shot at Dale Earnhardt Jr. after Sunday's race, too.
"For me, I don't think I would enjoy having the most fans out there," Busch said. "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 who doesn't seem to win very often. But for us, it's a blast to go out there and do what we do."
Now if you're a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan that should make your blood boil.
More to the point, if you're Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left) or a member of his team it should make your blood boil.
That quote ought to be put up on every billboard in the No. 88 team's shop and they should find a clip of it and play it on a continuous loop until that team goes to work and figures out how to go out and start beating the No. 18 when it counts -- on Sunday.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Posted by Observer Sports at 9:56 AM