Minor leagues no place for Kyle

May, 18, 2009

CONCORD, N.C. -- Tiger Woods doesn't dip into the Hooter's Tour between majors. Derek Jeter doesn't spend off days knocking balls out of the park for the New York Yankees' minor-league clubs. Kobe Bryant doesn't put on a show for the Los Angeles D-Fenders on a travel day.

Kyle Busch shouldn't have been in the Camping World Series East-West combination race he won Sunday at Iowa Speedway.

No full-time Sprint Cup driver should be.


I've heard all the arguments for it. He draws a big crowd and increases exposure for the sport. He gives the young guys who dream of making it to the top level a chance to gauge their talent against the best.

He also takes money out of the pockets of those struggling to advance. He steals the headlines from youngsters such as Brian Ickler (second), David Mayhew (third) and Jeffrey Earnhardt (fourth).

Busch doesn't need the headlines. He gets enough winning everything in the Cup, Nationwide and Truck series.

He doesn't need the money, either. He already has earned more than $2.3 million in Cup winnings alone this year.

The Camping World Series is a circuit for developmental drivers. If Busch wants to help increase crowds and awareness, he can show up and sign autographs for an hour. Or promise to watch the race from the stands with a fan.

To compete is like shooting fish in a barrel for a driver of his talent.

It's like pitting Woods against a field of junior golfers. Jeter versus some minor-league pitcher who hasn't developed a curveball. Bryant against a team of kids who didn't get drafted.

This isn't Busch's fault, although he shouldn't feel the need to lower himself to this level. This is NASCAR's fault for allowing it to happen -- for the third straight year.

Kasey Kahne finished second last year and Kevin Harvick did the same in 2007 when current Cup rookie Joey Logano won at the age of 16. It's a good gimmick for the track, but it does little for the betterment of the sport.

It's bad enough Cup drivers dominate the Nationwide Series and, to a degree, the Truck Series when Busch competes.

But to go to this level simply is wrong.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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