If anyone in the Sprint Cup Chase field has a ‘surface of the sun’ burning desire to win the 2013 Sprint Cup Championship, it has to be Kyle Busch.
Certainly that’s not to say that the rest of the field are any less on fire to take the top honors, but the Gibbs team has momentum and that counts for a great deal.
However, Kyle Busch may very well be the driver in the Gibbs stable who really is at a deficient when it comes down to closing the deal.
Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch are two diametrically opposed drivers in both personality and driving style. Where Kenseth is smooth, nonplussed and focused, Kyle Busch is brash, hot headed and can, and does at times, lose focus.
Two races into the Chase does not a champion make, but as much as everyone believes Sebastian Vettel will take his 4th consecutive Formula One title, the general consensus is that Matt Kenseth will take his second in NASCAR. There are reasons for this school of thought.
Kenseth has the unique ability to adjust both his style and car throughout the course of a race and be at the front when it’s time to ring the dinner bell. He doesn’t get shaken up when something goes wrong or not according to the plan. The ‘best laid plans of mice and men’ and all that. He just adjusts to the situation.
Kyle Busch, on the other hand, can be shaken up, as we saw in 2012, by any number of issues whether they are on-track skirmishes or an ill handling car that he can’t drive through until the next pit stop.
Here’s real the elephant in the room. The ultimate victory for any racing driver is to beat his, or her, own teammate. After all, they’re in the same equipment. But you have to ask yourself the question: Will Kyle Busch take out his teammate if he feels he has to in order to win?
In NASCAR you see a certain amount of camaraderie, at least on the surface. The good old team player mentality. You don’t see that other forms of auto racing. Some of the drivers in F1 have never actually met or spoken to their rivals. Apart from their team mates and most despise one another. NASCAR, not so much until it’s crunch time.
Assuming that the Gibbs team continues to develop throughout the Chase, and that is a big if, we may be treated to two wholly different schools of thought when it comes to winning.
Kenseth has always been the quiet one, the one who races you clean, not much to say but steady as a rock. That mentality is what the odds favor to win the 2013 Sprint Cup Championship.
When racing cars at this level on the absolute edge against drivers who are right there near you, it requires a very focused and cerebral approach. It’s here that the old adage “He who loses his temper, loses” comes into play.
This isn’t UFC, this is chess.
Busch’s strong suit is his car control ability; Kenseth’s is his gray matter ability. That is what will win this championship rather than heroics.
However, we can never lose sight of the fact that Jimmie Johnson is lurking in the mix to spoil the prize for either of the Gibbs drivers, but at this stage even Johnson has a monster on his hands going into Dover.
Busch would have no problem running Johnson wide or pinch him into a corner. I don’t think he would have a problem doing whatever it takes to Kenseth either.
What hasn’t been talked about with any regularity is: Would Kenseth do the same to Kyle? My bet is that his attitude will adjust to the situation as the chase moves forward. In short, yes.
That’s another way of saying he want’s this championship bad enough to go rogue if he has to in order to win.
This years Chase may very well come down to who can be Jekyll when they need to be or Hyde.
They don’t call Dover “The Monster Mile” for nothing.