1. Saving it under the lights
Kyle Busch has done a few things over the years, good and bad, that have made my jaw hit the floor in shock. But in the 2012 Bud Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, he did it three times in less than two hours.
First, there was an incident where he turned across Jimmie Johnson‘s nose with 28 laps to go. Busch slid sideways on to the apron in Turn 2, throwing a shower of sparks. He appeared to save the car, only to start sliding again, then save it once more before straightening out. It was an unbelievable piece of driving!
With two laps to go, Busch did it again. After a bump gone wrong from Jeff Gordon, Busch went sliding through Turn 4, briefly saved his car, but ultimately slid off the banking as the caution flag flew. Still, Busch kept the No. 18 out of the way while several others crashed in an ensuing incident that ended with Gordon barrel rolling down the frontstretch.
Busch restarted eighth for the green-white-checker finish. After getting lined up with Tony Stewart, the Nos. 14 and 18 drafted into the top two spots. It looked like Stewart had the race in the bag coming to the checkered flag, but Busch pulled to his outside and drag raced him to the finish line. After pulling off two unbelievable saves earlier in the race, Busch won by nipping Stewart at the line by 0.013 seconds. It may have been an exhibition race, but never before and never since have I been so thoroughly impressed by Busch’s ability to wheel a race car. – Bryan Gable
2. Retaliation in Texas
Few moments have left me speechless in this sport but one was when Busch went after Ron Hornaday in a 2011 Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Hornaday, who was in a battle for the series championship, made contact with Busch and drew the ire of ol’ Rowdy. Retaliation was swift as Busch intentionally hooked Hornaday’s truck, wiping both of them out. The move got Busch parked for the remaining events that weekend. – Frank Velat
3. Checkers or wreckers
Damn it Frank, I was literally typing that one up and you stole it. Oh well. Here’s one just as good:
When you wreck NASCAR’s golden boy, your career might as well just have ended right then and there. In the closing moments of the 2008 Richmond spring night race, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Busch were having an incredible battle for the lead. Then, Busch got a little bit too hot going into Turn 3 and spun the most popular driver. A shaken Junior Nation went home sulking. And oh, by the way, Busch did not win the race, which may have given all the Junior fans just a minuscule sliver of consolation. But even that is highly thoughtful. 200 wins later, the Candyman is still here. – Zach Gillispie
4. Well, at least he was honest?
Another great Busch moment was when he won the first race in the Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR’s next generation of cars in 2007, at Bristol Motor Speedway. In his Victory Lane interview, Busch says the cars suck. You know that angered the NASCAR executives. That was Busch’s Smokey Yunick moment.- Michael Massie
5. A smashing celebration
When Busch won at Nashville and smashed the trophy into pieces. It reminded me of the episode of The Office where Dwight beat the piñata to death with a broom in terms of maturity. – Bryan Davis Keith