|08/29/19||DIBENNEDETTO NASCAR'S ROCKY BALBOA|
|06/26/19||FROM JOURNEYMAN DRIVER TO HALL OF FAMER|
|06/18/19||WINNERS NOT ADDING UP|
|05/25/19||THE 600 IS STILL A CROWN JEWEL|
|05/15/19||NEXT TWO WEEKS COULD BE TOO GOOD|
|04/10/19||WALTRIP A TWO-WAY HALL OF FAMER|
BUSCH'S 200 NOT PETTY'S 200
Kyle Busch is one win away from claiming 200 checkered flags on NASCAR's top-three series, which is a remarkable achievement and he didn't want anyone comparing it to Richard Petty's 200 Cup victories.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what's happened.
The numbers are big, huge, ginormous. Busch stands at 199 with 52 Cup wins, 94 on the Xfinity Series and 53 in Trucks, leading nearly 42,000 laps along the way. These are stats that put Kyle in another zip code to anyone else in racing ever. It's his own personal mountaintop.
After he parked the M&Ms Toyota in victory lane Sunday, sweeping the weekend in Phoenix, reporters tracked down Petty to get his thoughts about Kyle closing in on 200. While "The King" respected what Busch has achieved, he clearly doesn't believe it equals what he's accomplished.
Petty said, "Well, you got to figure the Cup deal is '
"Not taking anything away from his driving ability or his car deal, but the big deal is the competition in the other two leagues is not there. It's like a professional guy coming back to play college ball and then coming back and playing high school ball."
That was clearly a swipe at Busch and he clearly fired back.
"It's not my job to compare, to tell you what I did was harder or easier," Kyle claimed. "
"What I've said from the beginning this is not a comparison to Richard Petty's 200 wins. It is not. It is my own and an accomplishment that should stand alone separate from Richard."
It should and eventually will because we really are talking about apples and oranges. Although Petty may have been unchallenged in a few races back in the sport's early year, the competitive level on the Monster Energy Cup Series cannot even be remotely compared to Xfinity or the Trucks. It's always had more talent, more competitive cars, and more intensity. Busch's 153 victories on NASCAR's junior circuits were not all a walk in the park, but his ability and the equipment he was running almost always meant he was bringing a gun to a fistfight. It used to be upwards of 20 Cup drivers would run Xfinity Series races and Kyle had his hands full, the triumphs hard earned. Nowadays, however, that's not the case and all he needs to beat is two or three other cars. When it comes to the Trucks, every now and then, one of the youngsters rises up, but always feels to me like Busch is taking candy from a baby.
Somehow people want to twist all of that and take away from what Kyle's done in Cup and that's been extraordinary. Sitting now at 52, he's one of only 13 drivers in NASCAR history to win over 50 races in their premier division. On the all-time
That is greatness and we shouldn't ever forget that. No Busch's 200 are not Petty's 200, but we are watching a once in a lifetime career. To all the Busch haters get used to the fact, he's going to be elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame the second he's eligible and the vote should be unanimous.
"He is a great driver," Petty conceded. "You'd be able to put him in competition with all the greats that have been here before, running against the Allisons, running against Pearson, he would have been very competitive against us."
No question that's the case so we should just forget the current debate and just enjoy Kyle doing his thing. No one is more doggedly determined to win and he'll take the fun out of some races, especially when it comes to Xfinity and the Trucks, but other times his drive to succeed is what will put us on the edge of our seats.
"We just keep winning, the stats will keep piling up," Busch said at Phoenix.
Yes, they will and if you are going to keep track of the numbers you had better have a calculator.