Saturday night's Richmond race started like many had before it. Kyle Busch leaped out to a huge lead, began lapping the field and before long, he'd secured the lap-leader bonus just over halfway into the race.
And then, things went wrong. Mysterious smoke began drifting from the 18. Kyle began dropping back. And over the radio came those two words that have defined much of Kyle's career: "We're [expletive]."
Except that this time, Kyle wasn't [expletive]. No, this time, Kyle rebounded, got himself together, and lo and behold, found himself on the front row of the final restart. Kyle's as good as it gets on restarts, and the race was, for all practical purposes, over at that point. One rather routine pass of Jeff Gordon later and boom -- victory.
Afterward, Kyle talked about how he was able to keep it together: "For the old Kyle Busch, he would have folded," Kyle said. "The new one, he stuck in there, he dug hard. He kept going."
Correct, if not particularly insightful. Joe Gibbs had a theory on why Kyle may be somewhat more mature: "I think one thing that's helped Kyle is winning that Nationwide championship last year," Gibbs said. "I think he had real patience there. There were days where he had to take third, fourth ... I think this year, you know, had this been last year with three or four of the things that happened to us in some of the races this year, particularly this one, I think you probably would have seen a different reaction. I appreciate the new Kyle."
Kyle, himself, credits everything from truck ownership to his fiancee to his new crew chief. "I think it's just a patience thing," he said. "I've become a little more patient."
If a performance like that is what we can expect from Kyle being more patient, well, let's be honest: the rest of the field is now [expletive].