If anyone gets to know me at all, the first thing they realize is that I am a diehard Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan. And yes, like the rest of the AMPed-up faithful, I was steaming when Kyle Busch took out Earnhardt Jr. at Richmond earlier in the year.
I don't know, maybe the "Haterade" has worn off a little since that day, but I find it harder and harder to hold a grudge against Kyle Busch. Let's face it, it doesn't matter who you root for, who you love, or who you hate in NASCAR, Kyle Busch is the best thing that's happened to NASCAR since the turn of the decade.
We don't have any good rivalries in NASCAR anymore—Dale Earnhardt Sr. was the last driver I can think of that had a "true" rivalry, week in and week out, not these one race chest-puffing episodes. (Juan Pablo Montoya and Kevin Harvick come to mind.)
Maybe it's just me, but I like a little drama in NASCAR. It gets old watching corporate pawns every week drive their car, get out at the end of the race, thank the sponsors, and that's it. The drivers' fans are some of the most diehard and colorful in all of sports, why shouldn't the drivers themselves be the same?
That's where Kyle Busch fits the mold.
Sure he acts like a brat, sure he gets on my nerves, but NASCAR is a lot better off with him than without him. Ask any NASCAR fan what the domineering storyline of the year has been so far, and nine times out of 10, they'll answer "Kyle Busch!!!"
Of course the other one out of 10 will be the Junior haters who swear his win at Chicago was given to him and how it took him over 70 races to finally break his winning streak. But I digress.
As much as we love to hate him, Kyle Busch is a great reason to tune in every weekend and watch what would otherwise be a fairly boring year of NASCAR racing. Just listen at the end of a race that he wins...you can start to hear the cheers approaching the decibel level of the boos.