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Jay Busbee

What's it going to take for you to take Kyle Busch seriously?

Kyle Busch. What the heck are we to make of you? One minute you're Johnny Smooth, deftly discussing your own place in the sport, and the next you're throwing fits like a spoiled third-grader. But it sure looks like the guy most NASCAR fans love to hate is slowly becoming — yes, it's true — a fan favorite.

Most recently, Busch added another line to his resume by winning his first trucks race as an owner, throwing up a dominating win at the Nashville 200 on Friday night. It marked Busch's 17th truck series victory and his 64th win overall across all three NASCAR series.

Busch beat out Kevin Harvick, who'd won his previous four truck races in a row. This does have the feel of, say, the Colts and the Patriots dropping down to beat up on some Division III college football teams, but still, a win's a win's a win.

Kyle also is demonstrating awareness of his own pain-in-the-butt history. The last time he was at Nashville, he destroyed Sam Bass's custom Gibson guitar, and thus offered Bass a chance to smash up Kyle's car:

Kyle hasn't had quite the same level of success in Sprint Cup; his wreck at Martinsville last weekend cost him a berth in the top 12 and, potentially, a shot at winning the race. But he appears to be taking the long view now — wise move for a guy who's still only 24. And with his quotability and driving skill, he could be right at the front of the NASCAR parade for years to come. Make your space on the bandwagon now!

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