Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are highly proficient at turning left, lap after lap, mile after mile. But their paths diverge when you look at their personalities.
Truex is one of the “good guys,” a label he deservingly wears as a former lone-gun driver on a smaller team, and a partner who has stood side by side with fiancée Sherry Pollex, an ovarian-cancer survivor.
Busch is a family man too — married with a son named Brexton. But Busch has earned the nickname “Rowdy” for a reason. He mixes it up at the track and on social media, striking first and thinking about consequences later. His ongoing feud with Brad Keselowski has been popcorn-worthy entertainment.
Busch and Truex are different men united in a common cause of trying to become your 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
Truex leads the pack at 951 points with two races to go in the regular season. He has four wins and 10 Top-5s. Busch is second in points at 850 with two wins and nine Top-5s.
They’ve been in the hunt this late before. Kyle won the title in 2015 and was third last season. Truex has finished fourth and 11th in that span.
Every sport is driven by rivalries and story lines. The NASCAR narrative would be quite compelling if these two guys were among the four left standing in November for the final race at Homestead.
Busch’s skills as a wheelman were quite evident earlier this month at Bristol when he won all three series races at the same track, a feat he has accomplished twice in his career. He remains the only driver to pull it off.
He also managed to get in some quality time on the Internet, responding to a troll by tweeting back: “You’re an idiot!! Go back to ur grandmas basement cause the 65 employees @KBMteam will want to have at u if I shut down.”
You got to give the guy extra credit.
“I don’t care,” Busch said. “All noise is good noise.”
Junior & Happy
Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have yet to talk it out after the mockingly monikered “Happy” took some shots at Earnhardt because, to paraphrase, he is too popular and that is hurting NASCAR.
Cue face plant, including Junior.
“I would appreciate a conversation, if we can have a conversation about it,” Earnhardt told reporters recently. “I know Kevin, and I’ve known him for a long time. I feel like it would be great to sit down and discuss what he said, what he meant. We can even talk about my conversation from The Glen that he didn’t like and just find some kind of common ground. That would be great.”
Earlier this month at Watkins Glen, Earnhardt said he didn’t have an idea how to improve NASCAR and noted that since sponsorship money has decreased, it’s fortunate for the series that younger drivers are accepting smaller contracts than what the veterans get. Earnhardt has since said he didn’t mean to suggest drivers had better get used to making less.
Your move, Mr. Harvick.
Furniture Row future
With Erik Jones taking Matt Kenseth’s spot on the Joe Gibbs Racing team, wouldn’t it be a hoot if Kenseth replaced Jones at Furniture Row?
It’s not crazy talk. Kenseth and Kasey Kahne, who has been released by Hendrick Motorsports, would have great reason to apply for the vacant slot, starting with the fact they want to stay employed as stock-car drivers. And with Truex in the mix, this has emerged as a solid two-man team.
Of course, we all know what will drive the situation and outcome.
“It’s 100 percent relying on sponsorship,” Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing, told NASCAR.com. “We certainly never got into this to run just one year. A set of circumstances presented itself that we’re having to deal with. It’s late in the year and we’ve known for a little bit that we were possibly going to be facing having to find another sponsor.”