Race Weekend Central

Fan’s View: The Bell Sounds – Bodine vs. Busch Round 1

Putting aside our love of fast machines, carbureted engines and 43 cars all running for a trophy, there is another aspect of stock car racing we all enjoy. It’s the personalities of the racers. Without their handsome mugs, practiced gratitude and the occasional pre-race laugh with the media, a lot of the peripheral coverage of our sport would be rather boring.

Thank goodness there’s Kyle Busch.

The Shrub makes a sincere effort week in and week out to ensure we’ve got something to talk about besides his superhuman ability to drive a car. This week there’s the aggressive move on Todd Bodine at Kentucky in the Camping World Series trucks which resulted in Kyle losing, Todd winning and the pair exchanging pleasantries in victory lane. I don’t care who you are, that’s good TV.

While the move in question didn’t appear to me anything more than one of them racing deals — I mean, sucking around a competitor in the trucks ain’t anything new — surely the post-race confrontation was unnecessary. Todd’s tongue-in-cheek thank you to Kyle for wrecking his No. 30, so he had to come in off sequence, take on tires and fuel and therefore beat out the field in the pits was fun! But when Busch appeared in the middle of the hat dance to take Bodine to task for talking trash on TV was just… well… worthy of the WWE.

I was waiting for the trooper to step in when the fingers started poking chests. Where was the bikini-clad girl and bell?

It made me wonder if Busch spends a bit of time before he arrives at the track plotting what kind of controversy he’s going to involve himself in this week. It’s sort of like he can’t keep himself from poking the porcupine to see what it’ll do, because he hopes it will elicit a loud and angry response from onlookers.

On the flip side, I couldn’t stop grinning at the irony of the whole “I’ve had enough of Busch” scenario pouring out of Bodine’s frustrated mouth. It seems to me there was a time when I sat watching Cup races, and if somebody was turned around for no good reason on the track I would mutter, “It must’ve been a Bodine.” Guess what? It often was.

Geoff Bodine taught his younger brother well that if you’re gonna win, you’re gonna have to piss a few people off. Their reputations were built on unapologetic racing…not that it resulted in any wins in the Cup Series for the Onion. In his younger days, he drove hard but didn’t collect the hardware.

However, with the creation of the Truck Series, it was like NASCAR built a place for racers like Todd. With two championships and 21 trophies, he finally found the confidence and finesse to enter the world of the seasoned driver. That’s not to say the trucks have built the mansion with the three car garage, in-ground pool and landscaping service. It’s still a bit rougher, edgier and a lot less polished than its ritzier Nationwide and Cup cousins. Sort of like Kyle.

So, where does this leave us? As I said, with a lot of good TV.

Kyle plays the part of the angry youth who demands the world give him the respect his stunning talent surely demands. Todd is the elder statesman who seems to be suffering from a bit of memory loss and whose tolerance of the noisy teenager is strained beyond belief. It’s a drama. It’s a comedy. It’s a whole lot of fun to watch. Tune in next week for the next exciting episode.

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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