When it comes to Kyle Busch, nobody can take away his incredible driving talents and his no fear style. But at the same time, he obviously has one of the worst reputations as a self centered brat, who is having too much fun with his Bad Boy image. So when he publicly apologized for his involvement in the wreck at Sunday’s Lennox 301, it shocked a lot of folks.
The big crash on a lap 174 restart ended the day for Martin Truex and David Ragan as well as ruining a possible good finish for Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Jeff Burton. The first replays showed Busch turning Truex and the finger pointing and blaming began. As the media pursued Kyle for the expected, ‘not my fault’, his response was quite different.
“I have to apologize to all those guys,” Busch said. “We got bottled up there in turn one – especially Martin and Jeff Burton and those guys. I meant nothing of that. The 88 (Earnhardt) spun his tires on the restart, I went to choose a lane, went to the middle, and the 42 (Montoya) and I got together a little bit. That pinched me with the 1 (Truex, Jr.) and I spun the 1 out and it was just mayhem from there.”
But after reviewing the incident, I have to throw the Black Flag at Kyle’s apology. No, not because I don’t believe it was sincere, if it weren’t, he would not have said it. I do, because he did not cause that wreck, and his apology let’s the other driver’s responsible off the hook. A look at the replay shows the sequence that happened and how it really unfolded. Nobody is denying that Dale Earnhardt Jr triggered the whole thing by spinning his tires on the restart, although Junior has not commented on that.
It is what followed the mistake by Earnhardt, that led to the wreck. Truex, who is obviously aware of the mistake that Junior is known for from his time as a teammate at DEI, backed off to avoid hitting the 88 car. Martin fully expected Junior to regain his composure and control of his car and he prepared for the second restart by Earnhardt. But the 88 car did not react quickly and Truex rammed his former teammate. Again, Truex had to back out of it in hopes that the 88 would finally get traction and move out of the way.
Leading up to all of this, Kyle Busch and Juan Montoya were side by side looking for a way to get around the mess created by the 88 car. During the maneuvering, Truex started moving down the track and Busch’s reaction was to go high in an attempt to pass the 1 car. At the same time Montoya was looking for room and started moving down, which blocked Kyle’s attempt to get around Truex. All would have been some normal ‘racin is rubbing’ had Truex not been forced to back off the second time. It appears that the fault of this one falls not on the guy who apologized and took responsibility, but rather on the two cars in front of him.
So, in the aftermath, it is Kyle Busch who once again takes the heat that he does not deserve apologized. “I hate it for all those guys because I know they’ve got ‘Chase’ contentions too. We were just battling for every spot out there today. Restarts are hectic, man. Everybody is fighting for every inch that’s out there because it’s so hard to pass with these cars.” And not a peep from the two guys that have zero chance of making the Chase, Earnhardt (19th) and Truex (24th) that really caused this wreck.
Kyle Busch is a spoiled brat, used to getting his way, and I have had my issues with Kyle in the past. It is frustrating covering races when you rush to the media center after a race to catch the Q and A’s with the second and third place drivers, only to learn that after finishing second, Kyle skips the appearance because he is having a tantrum. But this week, Kyle publicly fell on his sword for something that was not his fault. Perhaps by now he has finally seen the replays and understands that he did not owe the ‘sorry’, but it’s too late, he already assumed the blame. So another week goes by with another Kyle Busch Screw Up.