NASCAR’s bad boy strikes again. Fans love to boo and hate Kyle Busch and he gave the fans plenty to boo about last weekend.
There are not many weekends where NASCAR has all three of its national series races competing at the same track on the same weekend. Bristol had all three races last weekend. Not many drivers compete in all three series, but Busch does and is very successful at it. Last weekend, Busch brought out the broom as he won all three events. It has only been done once before and Kyle was the one who accomplished it in 2010, also at Bristol.
Few drivers in NASCAR can trigger the raw, emotional responses from fans Busch can stir. Many fans in this area started their hate of Busch when he smashed the Gibson Les Paul custom guitar after winning the Nationwide Series race in Nashville back in 2009. As he keeps winning, he accumulates more and more anti-Busch fans.
While making Thunder Valley his personal playground this week, Busch seemed to relish being NASCAR’s villain. There was no subtlety in his raspberry-punctuated interview after winning the XFINITY Series race Friday night. Following his victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR race Saturday night, Busch exited his car on the front stretch and held up three fingers to the crowd. Some were cheering, but those booing were most audible.
“I don’t care,” Busch said. “Make the noise, who cares?” Once in Victory lane, Busch did thank fans, specifically his fans.
“Rowdy Nation is what fuels us to get around and get along,” Busch said. “All the noise is good noise, that’s how I feel about it.”
There are only two races left in the regular season and 12 drivers have locked themselves into the playoffs. The 12 drivers with wins so far this year, with the number of wins and playoff points are: Truex (4-35) Kyle Busch (2-20), Kyle Larson (3-18), Jimmy Johnson (3-16), Brad Keselowski (2-14), Ricky Stenhouse (2-10), Kevin Harvick (1-8), Ryan Blaney (1-8), Denny Hamlin (1-7), Kurt Busch (1-5), Ryan Newman (1-5), Kasey Kahne (1-5), and Austin Dilln (1-5).
The three drivers eligible to make the playoff field on points are Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray.
Joey Logano won the Richmond race in April, but because of a penalty the win was encumbered and not eligible for the playoffs. Any driver not in the top 16 in points could make the playoffs with a win in the final two regular season races, provided they are in the top 30 in points.