It’s Racing Like You’re Being Raced Right?

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 1, 2018 in Joliet, Illinois.

What a race! After Martin Truex Jr. blew away the field at Sonoma last week, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson delivered a door banging, full contact finish in the Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland. This is the kind of racing fans crave. In light of that, it’s a bit curious the reaction of the fan to the win by Kyle Busch.

It’s especially perplexing when you consider the reaction of runner-up Kyle Larson. He accepted with class the consequences of initiating contact. Unlike the reaction of Kurt Busch to being raced hard by teammate Kevin Harvick, Larson understands the adage that you race others like they race you. That’s what happened to Larson. If he hadn’t moved up the track on Busch, he may have had a case for complaining about the heavy dose of bumper he got from Busch. But that’s not how it works.

It’s real simple. If you avoid contact at all costs, a la Mark Martin, you get raced in one fashion. If you engage in contact, you may expect contact will be given you.

Let’s get real: it’s not about the racing, it’s about who’s involved. All that booing was more about Kyle Busch. No one here is suggesting people have to like him. Kyle Larson knew what he might get in return if he couldn’t get away from Busch. Rowdy draws a lot of ire, because he is, well, rowdy. You don’t have to like it.

As for Larson, in the Kyle vs. Kyle battle, Busch has come out on top every time. That’s how the racing goes. It won’t last forever.

In fact, one should expect- as often happens in racing- what goes up must come down. Some day, the bottom rail may find itself on top. It remains to be seen if Busch will be as gracious in defeat as Larson was. If Busch isn’t, well then you can expect he will get the reaction he usually does.

What fun would racing be if everybody behaved perfectly? I don’t think we’ll ever have that to worry about.