'Rowdy' Kyle Busch getting the last laugh
Just two weeks into the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Busch could be downtrodden about losing his ride at the juggernaut Hendrick Motorsports organization, the four-car outfit which captured 18 victories last season and has won seven championships since forming in 1984.
Instead, Busch is focused on showing the decision-makers at HMS, and the world, that releasing him was a mistake.
Heading into his home race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 22-year-old currently leads both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series point standings and is second on the Nationwide tour, 30 markers behind new teammate Tony Stewart.
"I think it's pretty cool, but (it) puts a lot of weight on your shoulders to have to stand up and live up to that throughout the season," said Busch about his impressive start. "I'm down for it. I think I have a great shot to win three championships, but I won't be able to run for all three.
"We'll run as best as we can week in and week out. The beginning of the year is the best time to get off to a good start."
Even with the hot start, Busch is well aware how quickly things can turn in NASCAR. Last season, he posted two top 10s in the first three races and then went on to score a victory at Bristol Motor Speedway — the debut for the NASCAR's new Car of Tomorrow. Busch was quite vocal over his disdain of the new car in his post-race comments, a sentiment that would not sit well with NASCAR officials or his team owner Rick Hendrick.
While staying hot at Martinsville the following week, where he finished fourth, Busch and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorspots team scored three finishes outside of the top 35 in the next five races, including an April 15 incident at Texas Motor Speedway which would mark the beginning of the end for his association with HMS.
At Texas, Busch was involved in a three-car wreck with Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. After a miscommunication with the No. 5 crew, Busch left the track while the team worked feverishly to fix the car and get back in the race. Earnhardt, who was still at the track, subbed for Busch and offered a glimpse of the future.