Kyle Busch: NASCAR triple play isn't really fair play

Busch's 3-win sweep at Bristol quite a feat, but not really fair

September 01, 2010|By George Diaz

Are we supposed to celebrate Kyle Busch's recent "triple play"? Or bemoan the fact he is cherry-picking easy victories against less-experienced and less-talented drivers?

There are lines of demarcation in all sports, which is why you never will see the Florida Tuskers of the UFL taking on the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL.

But it's a little different in NASCAR, which allows drivers to mix and match in three different series. It makes for an odd mix like we saw last month, when Busch completed an unprecedented sweep of three national races.

His trifecta included a victory in the Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway after wins in the Nationwide race and the trucks race.

Busch became the first driver to complete the sweep since NASCAR expanded to three national series in 1995. Thumbs up from everybody, with the possible exception of antagonist Brad Keselowski, who called Busch an "ass" last weekend after their issues during the Nationwide race.

"We are in the presence of greatness," spotter Eddie D'Hondt said over the radio after Busch's Cup race victory.

Really?

Big props to Busch for winning all those races, but it's not exactly a fair fight. There should be an asterisk next to the name whenever a Cup driver gets a victory in another series.

Busch is not alone in crossing over to another series. Other guys do it, but it doesn't make it right.

Cup drivers are at that level for a reason. They have progressed from trucks to Nationwide to Cup cars, just like football players who jump from high school to college to the pros.

And it's not a fair fight economically, either, because non-Cup drivers and teams are struggling with finances and all of the expensive bells and whistles of running a competitive car every week.

Witness the recent announcement that NASCAR officials are planning to slash Nationwide race purses nearly 20 percent.

NASCAR has been wishy-washy about Cup stars crossing over. One of the reasons is that it's good for business. Fans want to see stars on the track, not newbies or up-and-comers.

That's why NASCAR remains uncommitted to the possibility of making full-time Sprint Cup drivers ineligible to win the Nationwide championship.

Guess who the defending Nationwide champion is?

Kyle Busch.

He now has 17 combined victories in 2010. Ten of them have come on the Nationwide circuit, four in Camping World Trucks and only three in the Sprint Cup series.

He's obviously having a good time of it. After dumping Keselowski in the Nationwide race and hearing boos from the crowd after his victory, Busch changed his trademark victory bow and started wiping his eyes like a crying baby

Say this for Busch, he is entertaining.

"I love winning, and to do this the first time in NASCAR history, to sweep a weekend, that's awesome,'' Busch said after his third victory.

gdiaz@tribune.com

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