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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kyle Busch gets a karma lesson at Kansas

It’s the oldest rule in racing: If you hit someone, they’re going to hit you back.

Sometimes it’s immediate, sometimes it takes weeks, but as Jimmy Spencer once famously said, racecars drivers never forget.

Kyle Busch should’ve had this in his mind when the situation came up with David Reutimann early in the race at Kansas. Being in the Chase, he should have realized that actions have consequences. I recognize Kyle’s point that Reutimann was loose and that helped create the accident, but Busch had enough time to back off and he didn’t.

This set up the event later in the race – a determined Reutimann barreling directly into Busch in retaliation -- that would send Busch tumbling from 3rd to 7th in the points, hurting his title chances.

Meanwhie, old reliable Jimmie Johnson, who is threatening to turn the Chase into a monarchy, avoided any such nonsense, finishing second and claiming the points lead. These two different outcomes show the difference in the levels of driving maturity by Kyle and Jimmie.

Had Jimmie been in Kyle’s shoes in the first incident, I bet you he wouldn’t have run into Reutimann, and there would have been no angry driver seeking him out like a heat-seeking missile on the track later in the race. That’s because a champion like Jimmie Johnson always thinks big picture.

Kyle said after the race that his getting into Reutimann was just a racing accident and accepted blame. Someone like Jimmie doesn’t get into those types of accidents when all the chips are on the line, which is why he wins titles in Cup, not the junior series.

There was discussion recently about whether Kyle Busch is a dirty driver, and I do not think his is. Aggressive, yes; Dirty, no.

But actions like today show that the Chase and the urgency it creates may be prompting Kyle to take actions that aren't very wise, and the drop in points was of his own creation today.

I’m not saying Kyle’s out of the title hunt, as the top 10 points are still all very close to each other. But Kyle Busch learned a pretty important lesson today that he needs to keep fresh in his mind for the remaining 7 races: Retaliation will come if you get into other drivers, and they don’t give a damn whether you are in the Chase or not.

With this in his mind, I predict he might be a little more considerate, at least in the short-term future, as he tries to climb back up the point standings, as it's now clear that his competitors will not hesitate to strike back.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might wanna check the replay, didn't look like he had much time to let up when 00 got out of the throttle in the center of the corner.

October 4, 2010 at 7:57 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a third option besides "aggressive" and "dirty"; it's "respect". Kyle has none for his fellow drivers. Tell us, did Kyle radio his spotter with an apology to be delivered to Reutimann after he "accidentally" got into him? I didn't hear one replayed on ESPN. Just blame and derision for a lower level team. That's another big difference between Kyle and his competitors. I'd bet you next week's paycheck an apology would have kept the 00 from finding Kyle's back end. If his momma can't teach him to say "I'm sorry" than maybe the 80 points he lost can.

October 4, 2010 at 10:15 AM 

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