100 Wins But Not Where They Count
It is the last weekend off before the final push by NASCAR Sprint Cup teams to nail down a spot in the coveted Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. It seemed like the story of the season was Kyle Busch taking down his one hundredth national series win. It is an accomplishment indeed. This slightly more mature version of Kyle Busch has not necessarily been in the spotlight for his attitude as much as he has for his accomplishments or racing altercations on the track. As far as the altercations go, most are just a result of hard racing. Busch has shown shades of Earnahrdt Sr. style and if he can continue the growth and momentum, a championship may be in his future.
That being said, is this milestone as big an accpomplishment as Kyle Busch fans or media outlets want it to be. In the Camping World Truck Series, we have every type of driver and team from extensions of multi-car Cup conglomerates to week to week hackers who pray to make the race and shine some light on their talent, to veterans that are finishing up their careers. It is not the level of Nationwide or Cup Action.
In the Nationwode Series Busch is rolling along as well, but agin the competition is seeded with teams and drivers trying to make a name for themselves or just hoping to qualify week to week. It is also chock full of young racers who will make up the Sprint Cup Scene in years to come, but today they are learning. This does not take away from the level of talent, but again it is not Sprint Cup.
Kyle Busch has achieved this milestone and is due the resulting accolades. Along with the honor there will always be an asterisk. Busch has the money and support to run all these series. He chooses to do it while others choose to concentrate their efforts in other ways. The landscape of NASCAR has changed since the days of Petty, Pearson, Yarborough and Waltrip. Young drivers back then did not have the opportunity to race in every division available. Busch does make the most of this opportunity, but while he is winning races in "feeder" series, these legends made their names with wins in the top tier. Busch has yet to do this. While he is off winning in Trucks and Nationwide, Jimmie Johnson has put a championship ring on each finger. Harvick, although he has not won his own Sprint Cup Championship, has put together a Truck and Nationwide program that has won championships.
Let me put it this way, Reggie Jackson does not get MLB credit for his minor league efforts. Derek Jeter's hits while on the DL and rehabbing in the minors a few weeks ago did not get him any closer to that 3000 hit milestone. So Busch's efforts toward his 100 win milestone get him absolutely no credit toward catching Earnhardt, Gordon, Waltrip, Yarborough, Pearson or Petty on the Sprint Cup wins or Championships list. It does not take away from his talent or ability or potential to achieve miletstones on the big stage of NASCAR Sprint Cup, but if he wants that praise he has to make those achievements against the big boys of Sprint Cup.