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From the Marbles

Happy Hour: The rise and fall and rise of Kyle Busch

From The Marbles

Welcome to the latest Happy Hour mailbag! You know how these work: You write us with your best rant/ joke/one-liner at happyhournascar@yahoogroups.com (note new address) or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.

This is the time in the season where every single moment becomes freighted with meaning. And from that standpoint, I found the moments just after the Texas race to be very interesting ones for the 99 car. Carl Edwards was on the radio basically trying to cheerlead his guys into staying focused and staying upbeat, even though they'd just finished second in the entire race. And after the race, he congratulated Tony Stewart, and although he said he was enjoying the battle, the look in his eyes was, "Holy $^#@ … I'm in it now."

But hey, enough of that armchair psychoanalysis. Let's talk about what everyone wants to talk about: Kyle Busch! I got oh so many emails on the subject, many of which approached Ph.D. dissertation length, so in the interests of keeping this moving, I'm going to excerpt just a few choice quotes from the best:

A talented driver like Kyle knows the right way to spin someone out if he didn't like what he had done to him. What he did was very dangerous, especially during a caution. It's like a boxer going over to another boxer between rounds and hitting his opponent while the opponent is sitting on a stool taking a drink of water. Might seem OK to someone who has no idea about sportsmanship, but some of us see it as unsporting and chicken crap.

 Chris In Crestview

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What I do find interesting is all of the uproar about how vile it was to wreck Hornaday under caution, and that retaliation should have been done while racing. Really? Wrecking someone under caution at significantly reduced speed is where other drivers have the ability to avoid the incident is somehow viewed as more heinous than when Carl Edwards dumped Keselowski at 180+ mph at Atlanta … What I don't understand is why is it OK to wreck someone at race speed, but not under caution?

— Bill McCarthy

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Perhaps Kyle Busch should not have wrecked Hornaday. But NASCAR has never, ever come down on Hornaday for all his thuggishness on the track, and let's not forget that KHI wanted the owner's title so nothing was going to stand in its way. Certainly not Kevin Harvick, who behaves like a mini-thug and never is penalized.

 Chris Hebeler

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Had this been Carl Edwards or Denny Hamlin, or God forbid ol' Junior-boy himself, the outcome would have been totally different.  But because it was the guy everybody loves to hate, it made it an easy call and more disturbingly, a popular call for NASCAR.  I have been a NASCAR fan for over 40 years, and will continue to be a fan, but its this kind of rulemaking on the fly makes me keep my fandom to myself for fear of being ridiculed by others that I know and meet.

Jim Cannaday

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So now that NASCAR has finally found their collective marbles and come down on Kyle (like they should have ages ago) do you think a precedent has been set?  And what impact will it have on his sponsors and JGR's reputation for not sitting on his actions before now? I already know a lot of people who boycott M&M Mars because of him.

— Joyce Keith
Bloomington, Ill.

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I just don't get it  why are ALL OF YOU so jealous of Kyle Busch??? He's the greatest driver EVER. He admits his mistake (which other drivers such as Baby Earnhardt and Hen-Pecked Harvick would have said "that's just part of racing"? and not been punished). It was so unfair to take him out of the Cup Race on Sunday. NASCAR always singles out Kyle Busch as the one to make an example of. PLEASE leave him alone and just let him race  stop looking for any little thing he does so he can be punished! If he even sneezed, some of you would want to hang him for it. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

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Becky Davis

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Do the right thing and SUSPEND this guy for the rest of the season and put him on a tight leash for next year! If he even flips off his own crew chief, he should be booted for the rest of the year! At least Mayfield didnt hurt anyone and he is gone forever!

Gerrit Downs

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Not a hater, but sometimes I wonder if Kyle is emotionally mature enough to race at the top level. It's like a teenager, he knows he shouldn't do something, then his brain disconnects and he does it anyway. With total disregard for Toyota, and Mars, not to mention all of the people who make a living from his racing, he goes ahead and does it anyway. He does not deserve the gifts he has been given, and that is about a tough a comment as I can make.

Dean
Centerton, Ark.

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What Kyle Busch did to Hornaday in the Truck race was ridiculous, dangerous and disrespectful. I fully supported NASCAR parking him for the Truck and even the NNS race.  But the Cup race?  Come on. Carl Edwards tried to maim Brad Keselowski TWICE last year at Atlanta and Gateway. He got a fine (which he could easily afford), probation (which Nascar demonstrated didn't actually mean anything) and elicited nothing more than a "Golly Carl. That was mean. Don't do that again  but if you do, we won't do anything about it."

Sue B
Seattle, Wash.

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NASCAR should not have done anything to Kyle, because Juan Pablo Montoya can do that stuff all day long and they never do anything to him. Richard Childress earlier this year takes off his watch and assaults Kyle. Does NASCAR call the police like they should, or kick him out of the race track like they should? No and no. Am I over NASCAR and their one-sidedness? Yes.

— Garry Rainbolt

Wow. So, I think that covers the full spectrum of emotion surrounding Busch, don't you? Feel free to tell us in the comments below where you come down. As for me, let's see if I can break this down: 

What Busch did warranted a suspension. Wrecking someone under yellow, when there are potentially safety personnel on track, and when drivers are not at their highest alert, does pose different, unexpected dangers than wrecking under green.

Enough with the "but Edwards didn't get suspended!" defense. NASCAR's failure to park Edwards then, which they should have done, shouldn't be taken as precedent now. However...

We now have precedent set going forward. And if NASCAR doesn't park a Dale Earnhardt Jr. or a Carl Edwards, if NASCAR doesn't park a guy who actually is in a points chase, then yes, the whole thing is a farce.

NASCAR does have an opportunity here. Generally, NASCAR runs from "setting down rules in stone" like a vampire from sunlight, but it seems that we have a chance here to say, "THIS will get you parked." Of course, the likelihood of NASCAR getting away from its "we'll know it when we see it" style of management is, shall we say, rather slim.

Yes, he absolutely should have been suspended for the Sprint Cup race for actions he took in a lower series. If you're going to step down and run in the lower series, you've got to accept that your actions there aren't necessarily confined to there.

If you think sponsors are really all that "disappointed" in Busch, well, let me enlighten you: there's an old public relations saying that goes something like, "it doesn't matter what they're saying about you, as long as they're talking about you." And while that's not entirely true (Joe Paterno and Penn State aren't exactly enjoying that maxim right about now), it certainly fits here: What Busch did was aggressively stupid, but also very much in the vein of drivers before him (including one Dale Earnhardt). Not nearly as bad of publicity as it could be.

Finally, let's all take a deep breath and realize that this is NASCAR. Not religion or politics or your family. Kyle Busch didn't slap your momma, and neither did NASCAR brass. (At least, not that I'm aware of.) Justice has been meted out, and now let's move on and enjoy a fabulous two-race Chase, shall we?

And on that note, we're out. Thanks to all our writers this week. You want in? Fire up the computer and hit us with whatever's on your mind, NASCAR-wise, at happyhournascar@yahoogroups.com, find us on Facebook right here, or hit us up on Twitter at @jaybusbee. Make sure to tell us where you're from. We'll make you famous!

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