Despite urging NASCAR last week to “cut the cord” on dirt racing, Kyle Busch was ironically able to score his first win of the season at the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It didn’t take any aggressive maneuver or slick slide job, either. All he had to do was be at the right place at the right time.
Sitting in third place as Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe battled for the lead, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was able to sneak by for the win after Briscoe wrecked Reddick while trying to pass him. As Reddick and Briscoe talked things out on pit road (surprisingly without any sort of anger-fueled extracurricular activity), Busch celebrated on Victory Lane.
In his post-race interview with Jamie Little, Busch was able to soak in the victory, while also giving a wink and a nod to fans who were intent on booing him.
“We got one,” Busch said. “It doesn’t matter how you get ’em, it’s all about getting ’em.”
Now, NASCAR fans have loved to hate on Kyle Busch since pretty much the dawn of time. Win, lose, or draw, there’s just a large contingent of haters out there who can’t help but rub his face in it. So, as the chorus of boos at Bristol grew louder and louder, Busch couldn’t help but interrupt himself mid-interview and address the hullabaloo.
“Man, I feel like Dale Earnhardt Sr. right now,” Busch said. “That’s awesome. I didn’t even do anything.”
For all you NASCAR historians out there, you’ll probably recognize Busch’s reference to the 1999 Cup race at Bristol, when Earnhardt was booed after he bumped Terry Labonte out of the way for the win. But, unlike Earnhardt, Busch didn’t pull any sort of last-lap shenanigans to deserve the heated reaction from the crowd. Just being Kyle Busch was enough.
If you know anything about Kyle though, you know he only seems to feed off the crowd’s negativity, so he continued on with his celebratory interview in spite of all the haters.
“Real pumped to get a win,” Busch continued. “This one means a lot. I can win on any surface here at Bristol. Bring it on, baby.”
Busch’s Bristol win marks the 18th consecutive year that he’s scored at least one Cup Series win, tying a record held by Richard Petty. Interestingly enough, in an interview last week, Busch alluded to previous comments made by Richard Petty when he gave a harsh criticism of dirt racing in the Cup Series.
“As Richard Petty said, ‘Dirt takes our sport backwards,'” Busch said, adding, “It’s a mess. Our cars, tracks, it’s not indicative of putting on a good dirt show. I’ve seen good dirt shows.”
I’d imagine that Busch would probably admit that this year’s Easter Sunday race at Bristol was a least a little bit of “good dirt show.”