The Frontstretch: Kyle Busch: Because Pride Must Always Go Before the Fall by S.D. Grady -- Tuesday June 2, 2009

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Kyle Busch: Because Pride Must Always Go Before the Fall

Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View · S.D. Grady · Tuesday June 2, 2009


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Once upon a time — just last Friday, in fact — in a media center not too far from here sat a boy. He wore a yellow suit decorated with multi-colored candies, beautiful on the outside while attempting to hide the ugliness that occasionally lies within.

His name was Kyle.

Now, Kyle is not like every other boy. He’s special. Every time he gets into a car, he can go faster than just about everybody else, turning rivals into mincemeat and race tracks into his own personal playground. This makes Kyle proud… and it makes many people around him very impressed.

On this particular Friday, Kyle was busy impressing all those people. Kyle would be driving three whole races this weekend, and he was going to go faster than everybody else on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With him, there was no second guessing … only the fear caused by second place being the first loser.

Then, a question came out that changed everything. One of the impressed people asked, “Kyle, what do you think about the new crew chief over in Junior’s garage?”

Now, Kyle used to drive Junior’s car not so long ago. However, that was before he could run fast every single day, making him a target at a time when NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver came calling. Still, it made Kyle sad to think about a time when he struggled, too. And maybe it made him a little mad.

Kyle thought for a moment, and then replied. “I feel sorry for the new crew chief,” he said. “It’s never going to be Junior’s fault when that car loses. It’s always going to be somebody else’s fault.”

The impressed people gasped and looked at each other, wondering what to say. It seemed a bit rude, what Kyle said. It seemed very rude. Offended that the boy in the yellow suit would make fun of somebody who did not win all the time, all the good people of the media center got out their pens, cell phones, and laptops to start reporting what Kyle had done.

Meanwhile, Kyle sat at the front of the room and simply smiled. He knew he was going to win this weekend — so why should he worry if he made some of the impressed people frown?

But it wasn’t just mankind who paid the price.

The racing Gods haven’t been kind to Kyle Busch as of late, with NASCAR’s winningest driver the last two seasons going a combined 0-for-3 at the Monster Mile.

High above in the sky, the racing Gods did not like what they saw. Thunderclouds gathered over the media center, and rain began pouring down. Kyle would not win a race today.

Kyle looked out the window and frowned… but only for a moment. He thought to himself, OK … Saturday, he would get to win twice!

The next day was sunny and bright. All the cars gathered on pit road, and Kyle couldn’t wait to start his engine. He would be fast… he always was.

The green flag flew, and Kyle’s car raced to the front. His chest swelled with pride as the day wore on, for other drivers had problems… but he did not. The checkered flag swam before his eyes like a promised dream.

And then…leading the field with only 3 laps to go, Kyle came to the restart with his teammate, Joey, just behind. They put their pedals down and raced into Turn 1. But something was not right. Kyle’s car did not go faster than Joey’s; instead, it slowed down a bit, like a tire was going flat. Unable to avoid Kyle’s car, Joey bumped his teammate into the wall.

One minute later, the checkered flag flew… but it flew for Brad in the pretty green car.

Angry and frustrated, Kyle drove to the garage area, glared at the sort-of-impressed reporter who wanted to talk to him, and ran off to change. After all, he had another race today — and this next one he surely would win.

This time, Kyle was driving his truck. He liked it… because he usually won in it. Brushing away thoughts of his disappointing finish, Kyle buckled in and looked for the green flag, again.

The laps wound down, and Kyle once again thrilled in the moment. His truck was fast. It felt good. Leading the field, his chest swelled in anticipation of winning. And then…with only 17 laps to go, Kyle’s tire blew. He did not win; Brian in the shiny black truck did.

Kyle did not look for the usually impressed people. He did not smile for the cameras. Tired and a little angry, Kyle just went to bed and tried to stop being mad. Tomorrow, he would surely win…wouldn’t he?

On Sunday, the mists swirled around the track. The drivers gathered next to their cars and spoke to the impressed media people. Kyle stood next to his yellow car, answering a few questions. During the night, he had thought long and hard.

There was no reason for him to be sad. He had won many races. He would win many more. Yesterday’s odd double disaster could not possibly mean anything. He was proud of his yellow car and himself. Today would surely be something to talk about after he won. He smiled at the impressed people, hoping they would come back after his victory.

After all, the front was not so far away; there were only five other cars in front of him. The green flag flew, and Kyle’s expectations rose up along with it.

But his car was not the fastest. It wiggled and wobbled, causing him to pit and take on four tires. It didn’t help! Refusing to give up, Kyle kept at it. He turned the wheel. He feathered the pedal. He fought…and lost a lap. His crew chief helped him out and the car got better. For the first time all weekend, luck came to him. Back on the lead lap, Kyle knuckled down and worked on winning.

He passed cars left and right. That familiar feeling filled his veins…victory was within reach. Once again, only five cars remained between him and his rightful place in Victory Lane. Proud and eager, Kyle tightened his grip on the wheel.

And then…with only 56 laps to go, it happened. How could it? It wasn’t fair!

Kyle drove down pit road with a vibration. He thought it was a flat tire. His crew hovered over the yellow car; but the new tires did not fix it. They looked again at the wheels. Still, Kyle did not know what was wrong!

The leaders drove away. His win turned to dust … but his problem was soon made clear. The yellow car limped around the track, its splitter banging against the pavement.

When the boy with the yellow suit pulled into pit lane after the race, the racing Gods above watched closely. Kyle climbed from his car. He looked at the unimpressed media people and left. He was mad and sad and didn’t want to talk to anybody.

On this day, Kyle did not feel quite so proud. And yet, he was sure he would be again…and soon.

From behind one cloud, the elder God frowned. “I thought the boy in the yellow suit might learn his lesson this time. I really did.”

His friend laughed. “Not yet. That one will require his pride to be pricked several times more. But don’t worry, he’ll challenge us again.”

They both jumped as the boy slammed the door on his RV. Then, they sighed.

“Yes, he will.”

Contact S.D. Grady

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MJR in Springfield VA
06/02/2009 06:43 AM

Very cute and very entertaining to say the least S. D. But do you know what; the boy in the colorful yellow suit with the pretty yellow car has a very bad little demon living inside his head. And I fear that some day that little demon is going to cause some other boy in his pretty colored car some serious issues. Let’s just hope that both boys walk away unscathed

06/02/2009 08:23 AM

What a great story. Tell me the one about the pretty little princess that is the most popular in the land despite mediocre on-track ability. The one who despite the efforts of all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t manage a top 10 finish. You know, the one whose Daddy was a smart ass who talked trash and backed it up like the kid in the yellow suit. I love that story.

Carl D.
06/02/2009 09:13 AM

Kyle Busch is an ass. I’m glad he is, though. He makes it interesting. It gives the writers something to write about and the fans something to talk and argue and even fight about. It’s good for the sport. But the fact that it’s a good thing doesn’t change the fact that Kyle Busch is an ass.

Calvin, I get your point and it was funny. Still, if Junior is a mediocre talent as you imply, that’s not his fault. You can’t blame the guy for trying. However, the fact that Kyle is an ass, well, that’s all Kyle’s own doing.

06/02/2009 09:26 AM

Really, does this make you feel all powerful? The Judge? Talk about Kyle’s immaturity! Read your article! Not the best journalism

06/02/2009 10:04 AM


How many championships does the driver of the yellow car have?

What about the princess?

That is what I thought.

06/02/2009 10:21 AM

I’m a huge , long time race fan . Haven’t missed a Nascar race on tv in thirty years , except for the many that i’ve attended live . I guess that gives me just as much perspective on the sport as any writer , so here goes .
I don’t care if drivers , any drivers , ever give interviews again . I DON’T CARE ! Hearing what a driver says about an on track incident or about his feelings after winning the race is really not very important . I know how he feels about losing . I know how he feels about winning . I know that 95 percent of the time the interviewer isn’t interested in finding out anything of substance . They only want to trap a driver into saying something controversial , like the interview you site . And interviewers are too lazy to come up with any good questions anyway . Sticking a mic in someones face and asking “ how do you feel after winning “ or” How does it feel to fall out of todays race “ isn’t interviewing . Its just lazy .
My only interest in watching Nascar is the racing . Period . The soap opera that swirls around the sport these days is mostly manufactured by journalists . And i’m not buying it . I don’t follow the sport for the soap operas . I watch for the racing .

06/02/2009 10:44 AM

I don’t know that I would call Kyle an Ass. Sure he is arrogant and imature. But he is only 24 and considers running second a failure. When Little E was 24 he was building night clubs in his basement and frosting his hair. As far as Kyle not wanting to talk to the media after a bad race, I didn’t see a whole lot of interviews from Princess when he finished 40th at Lowes.

To answer your question Jim, I believe Kyle and Jr have the same number of Championships. Unless you are talking about Busch titles. If that is the case you win. But is that what Jr nation has come to? Ignoring the present and hanging their hats on a couple of Busch championships from the late nineties?

06/02/2009 10:46 AM

It’s called KARMA. Looks like he’ll never learn. I guess it was all Steve Addington’s fault Sunday.

06/02/2009 10:56 AM

I have always been a Junior Fan, but I don’t believe you earn your spurs on your Daddy’s reputation. Junior has to prove himself. Kyle Busch has and if he has an attitude about Jr, it’s because the media questions addressed to him are about Dale Jr. and their rivalry and not always on his performance. His “incident” with Dale Jr has lingered for a year, yet Jr. Nation and the media do not seem to address Jr’s error at Daytona that took the best drivers off the track. Have you considered that Kyle Busch is reacting to the way the media portray him and the fact that Jr. Nation is so blind and vindictive that they can’t recognize a good driver when they see one???

Rusty Shackelford
06/02/2009 11:42 AM

I’m not a fan of either driver, but Kyle Busch gave the reporters what they wanted, and he knew it. Kyle was also the only driver in the garage who had the guts to say what the rest were probably thinking. Kyle says these kinds of things, nobody should be shocked at this point.

Hendrick dumped Kyle for Junior, Kyle went on to win a slew of races last year and steal the headlines, while Junior has been mediocre at best. It might not be the most mature way to handle it, but if I was Kyle, I might want to take some potshots, too.

Ron Wilson
06/02/2009 12:03 PM

Kyle is an awesome driver even better than Dale Sr, (29 total wins since 02/08)however
joe Gibbs needs to take him to the woodshed.

06/02/2009 12:48 PM


I couldn’t agree with you more. Very funny, maybe you should write a princess story, where there is a pea under the seat and that is the cause of the bad runs and not the evil, step-cousin/crew chief.

06/02/2009 01:36 PM

Enjoyable article on a losing weekend with Kyle. What I find amazing is everyone jumping to compare him to Jr and Sr in negative tones. Please, let’s just look at Kyle as Kyle, with no excuses. He is what he is. A great wheelman with a big ole boulder on his shoulder of bitterness. And before you all jump and say it’s Jr’s fault, it’s all Kyle’s making. Who left the track at TX leaving his team busting their butts to get the car back in the track, who threw his team under the bus numerous times, who dissed his HMS team-mates cause they didn’t help him WIN! Hey Kyle that’s your job to win, not your team-mates helping you. That’s why Rick tossed him..and his awesome wins. And really, I’m tired of hearing he’s immature because of his AGE! Would you let one of YOUR children act like this without a kick in the a$$..what’s so different from them and Kyle? Hero workship LOL There are American Troops fighting for OUR and Kyle’s freedom YOUNGER then him everyday, some don’t come home. They do not run and hide in an RV when they have a bad day, they stand up and act like the brave men and women we should consider HEROS, not a kid that hasn’t learned respect for his fellow drivers, let allow the people that sign his check. You all have a great day.

Kevin in SoCal
06/02/2009 03:49 PM

Attitude and all, I’d rather have Kyle Busch in my race car, because I know with a little maturing Kyle’s going to be an even better driver. Dale Jr’s best days are behind him, back in 2004.
And Kyle is right, Junior Nation will never admit that their driver is at fault. Its always someone else’s fault. This is the American way: blame someone else!

wiliam smith
06/02/2009 05:56 PM


06/02/2009 06:34 PM

What Kyle did to Joey to make him think it was his fault was inexcusable. He should have cleared that up. Poor Joey. Who btw, is coming into his own now.

Kyle can’t have it both ways. Talk when he wins, and not when he doesn’t. I would love for the media NOT to interview him after he wins a race.

@ Ron Wilson, I’m with you. Joe Gibbs could sell tickets and donate the proceeds to charity.

Larry Burton
06/02/2009 08:53 PM

Busch is a complete jerk! That’s what got him fired at Hendrick, it wasn’t his ability to drive a car that got him fired. What about the wreck Kyle caused last weekend at Lowes in the truck race where he deliberately took out the top two trucks. And, did you here his comments about it after the race? That’s exactly why I can stand the guy. He can win every nascar race from now own and I’ll never pull for him. Also, that extra Toyota Horsepower they had last year especially in the Nationwide Series is one reason he won so many races. I’ve also told several of my nascar buddies that someone like Spenser needs to give him an attitude adjustment and believe me if he doesn’t change his ways it will happen somewhere down the road.

The Backstretch
06/03/2009 12:35 AM

That’s a cute little story, but why didn’t the writer use what Kyle Busch actually said instead of making up a quote that wasn’t even close to what he said?
How does: “It’s never Junior, it’s always the crew chief,” – (which is what Kyle Busch really said) – how does that become: “I feel sorry for the new crew chief. It’s never going to be Junior’s fault when that car loses. It’s always going to be somebody else’s fault.” ???

06/03/2009 04:22 PM

Good article and was humerus. Do I like Kyle, no, is he a good driver, yes and possibly great. (a couple of extremely good years and this one is not over yet, does not make a GREAT driver so lets let see what history shows). Do I like Jr, yes I am a fan, is he a good driver, I really think so. Will he be great, honestly probably less of a chance than Kyle to get there but again, only history will tell the truth.

There are a lot of factors that go into being a great driver. Even when Sr was around and winning Championships as if it was as easy as going to the store to buy a loaf bread. They always wanted to compare him the the King. The King always responded like this, His day was a different deal that Dale Sr’s day, so you can not truly compare. So even with Kyle and Jr racing at the same time today, to be fair we should only compare Kyle and Jr’s record from the start. Kyle is in his 5th year and this one will more than likely be better than Jr’s 5th, but remember the year Ernie Irvan was having before his crash at Michigan, was either 1st or 2nd in points in the 1st 20 races. God forbid Kyle ever see’s that same scenario (the wreck that is) but my 50 years has told me anything can happen and quickly. So Kyle vs Jr 1st 4 full years. I am human so hopefully my stats are correct…

Kyle: Wins – 11, Ave Top 10 – 17.25, Ave Pts Finish – 11.25

Jr: Wins – 9, Ave Top 10 – 13.75, Ave Pts finish – 9.5

Not a heck of a lot of difference to say Kyle is so much better vs Jr’s start. Granted and even as a Jr fan I will admit if Kyle stays pace, he will far succeed Jr but again, we have to wait on what history shows.

And one little caveat, Kyle too off like a rocket when he made the move to Gibbs so instead of making jabs and sarcastic comments that makes one think he is still sore about Hendrick dumping him. Hell, looking back and the success he has had right out of the box, I would be kissing Jr’s ass!!!! But then again if a change is forced on me and it becomes a positive windfall, I give thanks and not complaints.

Okay, one more thought, Kyle in his 1st 13 races last year: wins-4, top5 – 9, Top10 – 10

this year, wins-3, top5-4, top10-5. So is he slowing down??????

06/03/2009 07:40 PM

Kyle is a jerk. But he can drive…But…Toyota is providing this team with some real horsepower. You can only go as fast as the car will go! If jr can get the goods, he’ll be back. Good or not.. the BOY needs to show some respect…probaly needs to have sex or something…

06/04/2009 09:04 PM

You know what they say about karma: What goes around comes around. Well, it’s coming around now and it’s been long overdue.

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