Kyle Busch called Tuesday.
NASCAR made him available to a few racing writers in the hours leading up to the Truck Series race at Charlotte.
We had a breezy conversation about all the things swirling around Busch and the sport, and I wrote a column about what might be a new Kyle Busch.
He wasn’t so sure about it when I mentioned it to him, and then came the race. Or rather, the post-race.
I’d sent out a Tweet, attaching my column to it under the heading of “Is this the new Kyle Busch? Humble. Supporter of academics. Politically taking important stands…”
Then about three hours later, after finishing second to new nemesis Chase Elliott, he uttered a curse word that had to be edited out.
This is still the old Kyle Busch. Irascible. Irritable. And making odd comments that have everyone from his team to his fans confused.
“There’s going to be some (expletive) talking when I get home,” he told a Fox Sports pit reporter.
He mentioned something about “broken pieces” from his race truck sitting idle for six months.
“That’s not acceptable,” he said.
Busch said a lot more in a somewhat lengthier post-race interview, explaining that something attaching the splitter was broken, which affected the truck somehow. He had the fastest truck all night.
Elliott won the race, though, and then did the signature bow with the checkered flag. Not his signature bow. Busch’s.
“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Elliott said.
“That’s cute,” Busch shot back.
So a day after winning a race for Appalachian State’s graduating class of 2020, after taking a stand on people not wearing masks at Ace Speedway and other short tracks and a few days after a magnanimous apology to Elliott for wrecking him at Darlington, the old Busch was back.
Or at least his natural style.
He’s probably the best pure racer in the sport. And his anger and sometimes volatile attitude is a big reason why.
We think we know these people because we talk to them for 10 minutes. We don’t. We saw two sides of Kyle Busch this week. And there are so many more that we never see.
It was a good interview, though.