Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, April 9, 2018, 9:59 a.m.
I stared at the screen, seeing lucky stars. It was too good to be true. It was what I’ve written dozens of times.
After winning the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch said it himself: “This ain’t no ‘new Kyle Busch talk’ again, is it? That doesn’t exist.”
Praise the Lord and pass the gravy.
The younger of Las Vegas-raised racing brothers has never subscribed to the gentlemanly model of sporting heroes. He’s closer to the poetic model of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
The was a little girl / Who had a little curl / Right in the middle of her forehead / When she was good / She was very good indeed / But when she was bad she was horrid.
Please do not succumb to the silly notion that Busch is being compared to a school girl. That would only make you, esteemed reader, the schoolgirl in question. It’s just the limerick that makes me think of him.
Busch is always proficient, and when he is good, which is to say, when he wins, he is just as good in the media conference. When he doesn’t win, he attempts to throw the world off its axis. He rubs it the wrong way.
For fans, not only is there no middle ground on Kyle Busch, but there’s none in his character, either.
All drivers want to win. Busch demands it. He abides nothing less. He wins enough to prevent his interior furnace from exploding.
In the final 25 laps or so, Kevin Harvick, three times a winner already in the Monster Energy Cup Series’ first seven races, gobbled up most of Busch’s lead. While Harvick and his trusty Ford had been traversing much of the country against scant resistance, Busch was finishing second three times and third once.
Adam Stevens, Busch’s crew chief, must have felt like Scotty in Star Trek.
I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!
As the laps expired, the plot was simple. The variables were limited to two cars and two men in them.
“The final few laps? Gosh, I don’t know,” Stevens said. “Once we made that last green-flag stop, I was committed to not pitting again. It was kind of out of my hands at that point. It was just to see if we could hold off the ‘4’ (Harvick). They had a really good car; they were fast. Seemed like we were pretty evenly matched. It was going to be a tall task to pass a car that was evenly matched, as it would have been for us to pass him.
“Kyle got on the wheel, busted out those last 25 laps, and here we are.”
Busch is happy again. Happiness is never farther away than the next checkered flag.
If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.
If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.
Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.
Just out is my eighth novel, a political crime thriller called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
My writing on local sports, writing, books, and other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.