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Monday, June 6, 2011

Is Childress a grumpy old man? Or did Kyle Busch deserve a beatdown?

There are two schools of thought about the incident that happened this weekend at Kansas City between Richard Childress and Kyle Busch.

On one side, which I would guess is the majority view, Kyle Busch had this coming. He’s had so many incidents with so many people over the years, it was inevitable that someone would end up punching him in the face – and that fact that it was a senior citizen team owner is just a matter of details. Kyle’s headlock beatdown was a deserved payback for all his past misdeeds.

Then there are the Kyle Busch fans, who say Childress was way out of line. They would point out that Childress drivers have wrecked plenty of other drivers over the years, and Richard getting personally aggressive because one of his team’s vehicles was tapped by Kyle after a Truck race is a pathetic move that is the equivalent of the crazy old neighbor yelling “Get off my lawn!” to the local kids.
When asked how Childress should be punished, Busch said that it’s not his decision to make.

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"That's not my decision. That's NASCAR's decision. Whatever they feel best to protect their sport and to protect what we have going on here is to their best discretion. I'm all for whatever they decide to do."

Busch won’t be punished, and he probably did the right thing by not engaging a response to Childress. No one wants to be known as the kid who punched a senior citizen.

The truth, as usual, is somewhere inbetween.

First off, let’s be honest … as much as everyone respects Kyle Busch’s talent, it’s pretty obvious that he does do and say things that would make people want to punch him. I even thought during the race, when Busch uncharacteristically was being passed by other vehicles including the RCR truck of Joey Coulter, that Busch would have a childish reaction to the situation after the race … because he is so used to dominating, doesn’t like to lose and gets made when he doesn’t get his way.

Do I advocate the rival team owner grabbing him in a headlock and punching away? No, that has to be kept in check before things get too out of control. While everyone reminisces about 1979 and the Allisons/Yarborough fistfight, nobody wants the garage to be the scene of a weekly boxing match. While an occasional fight is good for hype of the sport, you don’t want to get that sort of permanent reputation; it should be about the racing.

I will just say this; both sides in this battle acted immaturely. Kyle showed his true self (the “old Kyle Busch” attitude) when he couldn’t just accept that Coulter beat him fair and square … there was no need to go banging on the RCR truck after the race; and Kyle needs to accept that he’s not going to win every race or battle.

But Childress should have known better than to go all 1970s on the Shrub. While I’m sure he made a lot of new fans doing it, I agree it did have a little bit of the crazy old man vibe to it. If anything, let Coulter or Kevin Harvick do the fighting … I’d rather see the drivers settle things than the owners stepping in.
Regardless, the incident happened, and all parties should learn from it.

What I’ve learned is the following: Richard Childress may be old, but he’ll still whoop your butt; Kyle Busch needs to get the entitlement chip off his shoulder and realize he’s going to get passed sometimes; and the RCR team and Kyle Busch really, really, really don’t like each other.

This, my friends, is a recipe for a lot more fun and excitement out of these camps as the season unfolds. I just hope more of it unfolds on track than in the garage, so we can actually see the drama.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

just one little point... most journalists are missing the fact that this was not a confrontation between owner and DRIVER, but kyle is the OWNER of his equipment in the truck series... making this owner vs. owner... not sure if that really makes a difference, though... but as always, NA$CAR is consistently inconsistent...


June 6, 2011 at 9:12 PM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

This is a good point ... People forget that Kyle is a team owner now.

June 7, 2011 at 6:37 AM 

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