Race Weekend Central

MPM2Nite: When Busch Comes To Shove

Unless you spent the last week recovering from the bends in a hyperbaric chamber, by now you’ve seen or heard of Kyle Busch’s outrageous and unwarranted behavior during last Friday night’s truck race. Thus, I will only sum up what happened quickly to remind casual fans of the salient points. On lap 13, Ron Hornaday found himself in the middle of a three-wide racing pack. The air was taken off his rear spoiler and Hornaday got crossed up and into the side of Busch’s truck. Those two vehicles both made contact with the wall, though damage appeared minimal after the initial incident. Given the race was barely underway, both trucks could probably have been repaired in the pits and returned to the event with a viable shot perhaps even at a win.

But whatever low-amp circuit breaker that supplies the electricity to Kyle Busch’s brain was once again tripped. Another driver, albeit it a full-time competitor in the Truck Series two decades plus his senior had dared to thwart the efforts of the Great and Powerful KYBU who by birth is entitled to win every race he enters. Even while his spotter and crew chief begged, then finally demanded, that Busch calm the hell down, Vile Kyle unleashed went back after the driver he felt had wronged him – an affront that could not be tolerated – with evil intent. Had Busch decided to tap the rear bumper of Hornaday’s truck a few times, even under caution, I’d have been OK with that. That’s typical procedure to let the other driver involved in an incident know you aren’t happy with how he was racing that early in an event. But once Busch latched onto Hornaday’s bumper, he was like a terrier on a rat. He just wasn’t letting go. He kept right at his dirty task until he’d managed to stuff Hornaday hard, nose-first into the wall.

It wasn’t a spur of the moment bad call. Busch did so with aforethought, malfeasance and premeditation. And that’s when the bad-tempered little punk went from a race vehicle driver to a felon wielding a 3,600 pound, 190 MPH, 700 horsepower weapon deadlier than any handgun I’ve ever fired (and I’ve shot with some real cannons). Fortunately, Hornaday wasn’t injured in the wreck, but Busch couldn’t have known that was going to be the outcome when he sent that other truck into the wall. Luckily, Busch’s tactics have a way of backfiring on him and that was the case Friday night. In the process of wrecking Hornaday, he sent his own mount hard into the wall, destroying it. Even if he hadn’t, NASCAR probably would have parked him for the night anyway, so blatant and egregious was his offense.

Kyle Busch’s antics have put him in the spotlight once again, but will his talent outweigh his actions in the eyes of corporate sponsors?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Matt I can hear one of the limited number of fans Busch has left after Saturday muttering, this is stock car racing. You’re the verbose idiot who is always saying this is racing, not lawn croquet. But what happened Friday night wasn’t a routine racing incident. It’s in no way comparable to Dale Earnhardt’s dumping Terry Labonte at Bristol way back when. Those two drivers were battling for a race win late in an event and they were both going for the championship. Busch’s day job is as a Cup driver who happened to qualify for the Chase, though he’s done what he’s done annually and suffered a late-season meltdown in that series which has stripped him of any legitimate title hope. Still, you’d think that a driver still mathematically in contention for a championship would show a driver in a series where Busch was only moonlighting a bit more respect. Or perhaps even the tiniest modicum of respect. Or that he just wouldn’t be a total and complete asshole and wreck him under caution, for goodness’ sake. But I doubt that Busch can even spell “respect.” His definition of the term is respect is what is due him, but not deserved by others who sully the race tracks where he’s supposed to win because he is, after all, Kyle Busch. This is his world, and the rest of us just live here. Screw that noise. If Hornaday did show up at Casa De Busch to deliver a proper ass-kicking on the punk, I’d have been happy to have held Ron’s watch while he did so. Even in this era of “Boys, Have At It” it’s clear some of the boys have had it with Busch.

Hornaday is one of the stalwarts of the Truck Series, having been around since the series’ first race. He was one of the carpenters of that series that built the table where Busch now digs his filthy little piggish hands into the dinner bowl, snorting to keep others away from the modest feast. Kyle Busch should be racing in the Truck Series about as much as Cliff Lee needs to be pitching Little League ball. At least Lee wouldn’t be throwing brushback balls at third graders. Hornaday, who’d once been considered out of the title chase had driven to a remarkable set of four straight first or second-place finishes to put himself back into contention for a fifth Truck title. But that all ended when Busch came to shove.

Keep in mind that it wasn’t just Hornaday who Busch screwed on Friday night. As a successful racer and multi-time champion, Hornaday probably lives quite comfortably if not affluently like the jug-eared bitch that took him out. But team members on Hornaday’s team don’t earn such lavish wages, especially in the Truck Series. There are bonuses team members get for winning races and especially for winning titles that they really could have used, especially with the team shutting down at the end of the season. Busch reached into those men’s pockets and stole from them as surely as if he were a low-life pickpocket.

Ron Hornaday put up a historic charge to surge back into contention for a fifth Truck title. But with one hit to the back bumper, Kyle Busch shattered those title chances into smithereens… leaving Hornaday and crew left to stew over thousands of potential dollars lost.

And what of the employees of owner/driver Kyle Busch? They had invested a tremendous amount of time and talent into building a very fast truck that gave Busch a chance to compete for yet another win. They won’t be seeing any bonus money for a race win this week, either, despite their efforts. How anyone could work for that dumb bastard I’ll never figure out. In his self-righteous indignation at having one of his trucks wrecked, Busch wondered aloud who was going to pay for his demolished race vehicle. Well, as it should be, Kyle it’s the loathsome idiot that wrecked the car… you.

To a degree, I’ve tried to back off Busch a bit this season. He did, after all, seem to be trying to reinvent his image this year by being less petulant and less of a smartass with the media. Maybe Gibbs was lacing his meals with Ritalin. Busch is undeniably a hugely talented driver that’s a threat to win every weekend. I might feel that he’s pond scum because of his actions Friday night, but I won’t deny this guy is a tremendous race car driver. And it’s not his fault that he’s one of the ugliest son of a bitches ever to turn a wheel in NASCAR going up against the more marketable pretty boys over at Hendrick. But Friday night, Busch clearly not only crossed the line, he sped through the next three counties and rammed into a gathering of Make-A-Wish kids. His conduct was completely inexcusable and whatever penalties he has faced or will face as a result are solely of his own making and richly deserved.

Having read Busch’s apology, I am not impressed. Clearly, some PR person wrote “Kyle’s” I’m sorry note. It lacked Busch’s tortured syntax, use of the third person in referring to himself, misuse of multi-syllable words, and at least a hint of blaming somebody else. The statement I read instead stunk of committee-speak, with heavy input from Gibbs and Mars as well as a crisis management team Gibbs assembled back in the days when Tony Stewart was the thorn in his side. I wonder if they even let Busch read it over before releasing it. It’s telling there was no way Gibbs was going to let Busch speak publicly live until they were sure he’d ingested the Kool-Aid.

My initial thoughts on Friday night were that Busch’s punishment should have involved being lowered by fishing hooks through his scrotum into a vat of boiling battery acid. NASCAR’s decision to park Busch for the Nationwide and Cup races last weekend was appropriate, but not severe enough for the loathsome thing that he did. I feel that NASCAR should have parked him in all three series for the remaining events of the year. And if I was in charge, he’d have started next year’s Cup series at negative 48 points, forced to catch up a full race’s worth of points from the start. That would force him to study the points standings after each week’s race in 2012, seeing how much his lack of basic human decency had cost him as he struggled to even make the Chase.

NASCAR’s “Boys, Have At It” policy has garnered a positive reaction by and large from the fans. But at some point, a line has to be drawn and a driver who isn’t even competing for the title wrecking a series regular who is very much in title contention due to a temper tantrum worthy of a three-year old spoiled brat has to be dealt with. The “Have At It” policy was supposed to give the drivers a chance to police their own ranks and Busch has felt the wrath of the “Live by the sword, die by the sword” policy from his peers more than once. Most notably, revenge occurred this season when Kevin Harvick tried to punch him out on pit road and an owner twice his age did, in fact, take off his watch and attempt to beat some sense into Busch “old school” style. For whatever reason, and I’d guess its his sense of entitlement coupled with the fact he’s dumb as an acre of mud the lessons haven’t sunk in for Busch, so it’s time to go medieval on his ass. In order for punishment to be effective it must be swift, severe and certain but sometimes there’s no getting a donkey to go down a trail it has no interest in traveling and the only recourse left is to take a stick to it. If that doesn’t work, get a bigger stick. And for a jackass like Busch, you might as well fire up the cattle prod as well.

If that, too, fails well I’m sure Joe Gibbs isn’t going to put up with much more and Mars, the parent company of M&Ms, surely isn’t. My Dad was a VP at a Mars division and he always told me that the Mars brothers who run the ship are of high moral character and didn’t put up with any shenanigans. If a loading dock worker was going to be docked for showing up late on a Friday morning, so was a Vice President who just returned from an overseas trip Thursday evening. How a company that with those standards, especially one that markets their primary products to children, is going to continue to put up with Busch’s hooliganism is beyond me.

For all his self-delusional thinking that Kyle Busch is somehow vital to NASCAR’s future, this sport got along fine without him before he arrived and it will continue on after.

“Contact Matt McLaughlin”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/14348/

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