Tuesday, April 10, 2007

How 'Bout That Schrub?

Most race fans have a favorite driver to root for in their sport. It is like having a favorite team in the stick and ball sports--unless you have a favorite, you are just watching the players go through the motions.
The beauty of racing is that if our favorite doesn't win, there is always a chance that someone else we like will. We all have our favorites in NASCAR, but that doesn't always mean that we don't have a list of other drivers we like to see win, or, at least, get a top five finish. I have such a list that is relatively long.
But, though we may respect fifty drivers for their skills and abilities, we have to have someone we want to see lose. We want that driver to lose by less than a car length, hopefully being beaten by a driver we like, or to see him spin out on the last turn of the last lap. That always makes racing exciting. The driver we want to see lose has to be one of extraordinary talent--it's no fun watching a driver who is often a back marker lose.
Jeff "The Gordon" Gordon is on the top of my personal list of Drivers Whom I Like To See Get Beat, and he has been for a long time. When he is at the top of his game, he is the one driver, most of all, that somebody has to beat. The reasons are pretty obvious--he is arguably one of the best drivers ever, and he isn't Tony Stewart (my favorite driver, for those who don't know or haven't figured it out). Gordon made that list when he was racing the late Dale Earnhardt, who was my favorite up to the time of his death in 2001. The two always competed hard against each other, and one often wrecked the other to get a win in a close race. Since The Intimidator was my favorite, The Gordon became my "bad guy."
But Kyle "Schrub" Busch is about to take away The Gordon's spot on my list. The kid is absolutely amazing. While complaining that he couldn't get the new NASCAR Retrocar to turn for him, he raced his way to victory in the first race that was run in the new design cars, at Bristol, and got a top ten in the next Retrocar race at Martinsville. The way he drives is reckless by any standard, but, somehow he has learned to drive recklessly and avoid wrecks, in a way that is almost mystical. This not only takes talent, but extremely fast reflexes. He is like an unguided missile going around the track, that somehow misses all the obstacles and defenses that are put up to prevent him from reaching his goal. Few are as determined to win a race, especially in a car that isn't handling well. Unlike his teammate Jimmie "Lucky (D)uck" Johnson, who though highly skilled probably wouldn't see much success with a crew chief other than Chad Knaus, Schrub seems to have the skill to drive himself to success no matter who his crew chief is. He just powers the car through any circumstance, and somehow manages to come out ahead. And, he is always learning--the more he wins, the better he gets. Though I have nothing against him--in fact, I admire the sportsmanship he showed at Atlanta, as well as his driving skill--he is rapidly rising to the top of the Drivers Whom I Like To See Get Beat list. In fact, if The Gordon doesn't race him hard and gives him a win like he did Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville, he will be replaced.


Racefan57 said...

good post Jim....my list of wannabe losers...Hendricks! Hendricks and more Hendricks!!!

Babs said...

How about anyone but a HMS driver win this week? Well, maybe Casey Mears would be ok. But I'm tired of the rest of them!

Jay said...

Kyle is definitely at the top of my "want to lose" list. Boy can drive, but he doesn't have sense enough to pour piss out of a boot. But then again, what 21yr old does?

The Dixie Butcher said...

Y'all know the motto at Willard's Garage: "Anybody but a Busch!!!". Jimmie Johnson runs a close second, and then Cecil doesn't like Gordon much, but I don't mind him compared to some others. Poor Casey Mears, though, in that jinxed 25 car.... Vicker's was the (literal) red-headed step-child of Hendricks, but Mears is now the figuraive one.