Monday, February 20, 2012

Gibbs Garage: Bud Shootout Victory Sweet for Kyle Busch



A sweet start to 2012 for Kyle Busch.
Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.
When the checkered flag fell at the 2012 Budweiser Shootout Saturday, it was a photo finish, with Kyle Busch edging out Tony Stewart by a mere .013 seconds. It marked Busch’s first Shootout win and the closest margin of victory in Shootout history.

Stewart pulled a similar slingshot move to beat Busch in the past, but Busch says this win wasn’t about payback. When asked if beating the No. 14 gave him a sense of satisfaction, Busch said, “No, it's no sense of satisfaction or redemption or anything like that. It's us getting in Victory Lane. That's what it's all about.”

Kyle Busch winning NASCAR races is nothing new, and although it wasn’t a points race, this victory seemed extra sweet. Why? Maybe it was the joy of pack racing. Maybe it was because the No. 18 started at the very back in a backup car. Maybe it was wrecking several times, making repairs and getting back on track, still running decent with a dented nose.

Or maybe Busch’s miraculous saves made for sweeter success. No one can deny that Kyle Busch is a talented wheelman. When his car got loose, he made not one, but two incredible saves that sent sparks arcing over the hood. The news of the saves set Twitter abuzz with @KyleBusch trending worldwide. Whatever mojo the team had going, it worked - and they did it together.

“Yeah, it is great that we were able to come out first race back in the M&M car and get back in Victory Lane. It means a lot to myself and this team, Joe Gibbs Racing,” Busch said in a post-race interview. “Can't say enough about all the support around, M&M being back ...”

Busch displays his new brown
M&M's firesuit on Twitter.
The uproar over last year’s truck race incident with Ron Hornaday Jr. is over and Busch has the backing of his owner, team, manufacturer and sponsors. The united front and team loyalty appear to have buoyed up Busch’s outlook. He even has a new friend in "Ms. Brown," star of the new M&M's commercials, whose color will grace his firesuit for the Gatorade Duels and the Daytona 500.

Busch says this victory wasn’t about redemption, but perhaps he has redeemed himself a bit in the eyes of fans. When JGR teams have success, owner Joe Gibbs makes gratitude to God his first priority. Maybe winning the Shootout against a stack of odds has steered Busch toward counting his blessings, too.

“Man, it was a fun race,” Busch said, smiling. “I thought a lot [during the race] about how the pack was back.” Yes, the pack is back, all right. And so is Kyle Busch, savoring the sweet taste of victory.




Beth Bence Reinke writes "Gibbs Garage," Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup team recaps, for the 2012 season. Her Skirts and Scuffs column, “Faith on the Frontstretch,” explores the role of faith in motorsports. Follow Beth on Twitter at @bbreinke.

Beth is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female NASCAR fans. She also writes children’s books and uses her background as a registered dietitian to pen magazine articles about health and nutrition.

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