I wondered during the offseason why Kyle Busch, 2015 Sprint Cup Series Champion, wasn’t getting the attention that usually comes with being a champion in NASCAR. Sure, his season was well documented. Coming back from the severe injury in an Xfinity race at Daytona to win four races and finish in the top 30 and earn a chase spot. It was a great story.
Still, almost as soon as the celebration was over in Homestead’s Victory Lane it seemed like Kyle vanished from the many NASCAR stories that filled the off season. This past weekend at Fontana reminded me why. Kyle Busch is not Champion material. Don’t get me wrong he has more than enough talent, obviously, and is in good enough equipment to win the championship, again obviously, but he is not a Champion.
Kyle likes to race in the Xfnity series. I am assuming his sponsors like to see him race there too. Unlike some, I don’t have a problem with that. I know how money works and as such realize why Kyle is often in the car and why he often wins. This past weekend he didn’t win. He blew a tire on the last lap, no caution came out and he lost his chance to win his fourth consecutive Xfinity series race. Kyle was upset, which is understandable. However, what is not understandable was him saying, over his in car radio, that NASCAR fixed the race so that he couldn’t win. Even worse he completely blew off his mandatory, as a top three finisher, obligation to the media after the race.
This is not how a champion acts, not even close. This is how a child acts. “I’m mad, I’m going to say something mean about you and then I’m going to storm off.” No, not champion stuff at all.
I remember hearing a story about Willie Stargell, the late great Pittsburgh Pirate. After a particularly tough World Series loss Willie was in the club house. His kids were climbing all over him and he was laughing with them. A reporter asked him how he could be doing that after the loss. Willie told the reporter “You gotta be a man about it”. Now that is champion stuff.
Kyle Busch is one of the most fortunate people on the face of the earth. He gets paid a lot to do something he loves, something he does very well. He is on the short list of people to win a championship. He has reached the top of his profession. He should learn to act like he belongs there. I doubt he will but he should.
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