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Kyle Busch on failing inspection, Cup drivers in NNS and getting ‘more noise’ than Keselowski, Logano

Mar 22, 2014, 7:02 PM EDT

O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 - Qualifying Getty Images

Kyle Busch didn’t appear fazed by the fact his Nationwide Series car failed pre-race inspection and he was forced to start at the back of Saturday’s 300.

When asked by ESPN’s Vince Welch before the race how it would impact his chances in the race, the younger Busch brother was curt and to the point.

“Absolutely none, everything’s fine,” Busch said. “It’s just unfortunate that we weren’t able to qualify and qualify on the pole. We just gave everybody else a chance today.”

It’s that kind of response that gives additional ammunition to fans who are growing tired of Sprint Cup drivers racing – and dominating, particularly Busch and his record 65 career wins – in the NNS.

The younger Busch brother was momentarily taken aback when Welch asked how he would feel if he was a full-time Nationwide driver and forced to compete against someone who is so dominant in the series.

Once again, Busch failing to directly answer the question.

“Well, good thing I don’t have to think about that, so I really won’t,” he said. “I just worry about what I am and what I have to do today with this Monster Energy Camry and get it to victory lane.”

Finally, Welch broke through when he asked Busch what he learned during his Nationwide days.

“I learned how to race,” Busch said. “I learned a little bit how to Saturday race, but also you learn a little how to Sunday race and what those guys (Cup drivers) are doing.

“My (NNS) rookie season (2004), I won five races against those guys and I probably could have won more if it wasn’t for them being in the series, but I still won a lot and learned even more.

“I think it’s something that helps you out if you want to further yourself on up to Cup and get ready for that.”

Saturday was Busch’s 275th career start in the Nationwide Series. In addition to his 65 wins, he came into the race with 154 top-five and 189 top-10 finishes.

Break those down further, and Busch has won 24 percent – essentially one in every four – of the NNS races he’s entered.

He’s finished in the top-five 56 percent of the time and an in the top-10 an unheard 69 percent.

ESPN analyst and former Sprint Cup driver Ricky Craven took Busch’s supremacy  in the series to task. Craven empathized with full-time NNS drivers forced to continually finish behind Cup drivers such as Busch, particularly in the latter part of the season.

Craven is on to something: Of Busch’s 65 NNS wins, only 13 times has the runner-up been a Nationwide driver.

“He doesn’t need 100 Nationwide races in his career to prove he’s great to me,” Craven said of Busch. “He’s a great driver, but running 26 races a year and he’s a top-tier Sprint Cup driver seems like a conflict of interest. I’m not saying he doesn’t belong in the Nationwide Series, but 15 times a year is enough.

“There are (NNS) drivers that have disappeared because of the suffocating effect of not being able to get attention, to sell the sponsorship. I’m not saying what Kyle’s doing is wrong, he loves it, but it’s great for Kyle Busch. And in this business, or in sports, drivers and athletes will be selfish if you allow it.”

Craven likely won’t get an argument from Busch on the selfish part, whether fans love him or hate him.

“I seem to get more noise than when Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano win,” Busch admits.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. ditto65 - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    It’s not like he is the only one.

    Track time is track time – and I’m sure it helps with his Cup car.

  2. jimsgardentrains - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    Once a prick always a prick. He just races NNS to pump up his ego and make easy bucks. For the up and coming drivers you can’t learn to win when you don’t stand a chance to begin with. How about allowing just two cup drivers in each race, and they automatically start at the rear. No more than 4 appearances by any cup driver in each season and no cup drivers in the first and last race of the season. There is enough new talent in the series to draw good attendance and put on exciting races. They would be a lot more interesting without a cup driver running away with the race right from the start. Glad to see he got caught in inspection, just how many times has he slipped through without getting caught.

    • sandsautojinxieboy - Mar 23, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      jim,why do you have to resort to name calling? Must have to do with your lack of maturity.I say if Nascar lets cup drivers race in NNS than why blame the drivers. It’s evident Busch loves to race,not just in it for the money.Why all the criticisim going to Kyle,what about Logano,Harvick,Kenseth and the others.I see all the negative responses about Kyle.Is it just jealousy or ???.Dale Sr. was less than a saint and the world worshipped him,and still does.I say God bless Kyle,who gave him his talents for a reason.I believe if you knew all he and Samantha do for charity and the sport,you might look at him in a different light.

  3. aug99 - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:21 AM


  4. aug99 - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:23 AM


  5. jlechman86 - Mar 23, 2014 at 11:14 AM


  6. revd4s - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    The fact that Kyle has won 65 Nationwide races is not as great an accomplishment as he likes to think it is. It’s like having a senior in high school playing against an eight grader just to pad his wins. He is a good driver but I think his ego gets in his way. The fact that he or any other Sprint Cup driver has to take chances for winning and sponsorship’s away from up and coming drivers in the second tier series is really just plain greed. I say limit Sprint Cup drivers to no more than two years in the Nationwide series after they become Cup drivers. Their rookie year in cup and one year after that. Especially those who consistently finish in the top 25 of Sprint Cup.

  7. silverdeer - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    NNS is the minor league for Cup and it should be treated as the same. You either race one or the other. Just like in hockey or baseball you either play in the minors or majors. You can go back and forth for a little bit, but there is a limit and then there is no going back except for injury rehab.

  8. thisischavez - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Kyle came across as a jackass during that interview. More so than usual. Is he a very good driver? Yes. Does he still have a lot of growing up to do? You bet.

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