Kyle Busch, reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champ and the polesitter for today's 2010 season opener in Daytona, has a bone to pick with the media. Busch is irked that the overwhelming majority of the Nationwide Series TV coverage during the runup to the 2010 season kickoff has focused primarily (and not at all unexpectedly) on Danica Patrick's impending stock car debut. He calls the lopsided coverage "horrible," according to SceneDaily.com.
Busch has no issue with Danica herself; in fact, he's quoted as saying she's doing well. The problem, as he sees it, is that the avalanche of attention being given to Patrick is wildly disproportionate to what her actual participation in the series will be. Remember that despite all the media noise surrounding her arrival in NASCAR, Danica Patrick is a part-time driver who will appear in fewer than half the races on the 2010 Nationwide Series calendar. IndyCar remains her first priority, and she's racing that full schedule. Busch feels the media is doing the other full-time Nationwide drivers a great disservice by not affording them some of the giant spotlight that the series finds itself under this week.
While some will doubtless view Busch's comments as sour grapes, he makes a valid point in that there are surely other drivers who would stand to benefit from some media love, particularly given all the extra attention that has followed Danica to Daytona. It's also a prime opportunity for casual observers to potentially learn more about the Nationwide Series itself, which puts on an entertaining show and offers up some interesting differences from the top-tier Sprint Cup series. (Did you know that the Nationwide teams bring rain tires and windshield wipers to the dates at Mexico City and Montreal? Now you do.)
Now, Busch's media criticism may be well-intentioned, but he shouldn't look this gift horse in the mouth. The gigantic amount of press that Danica Patrick has generated for the Nationwide Series this week can only be viewed as a good thing for everyone involved. It's likely to carry over to her second race in Las Vegas two weeks from now as well. After that, Danica vanishes from NASCAR until late June in order to focus on IndyCar.
So here's the deal: Danica Patrick (and the media swarm that's following her) brings fresh sets of eyes to the NASCAR Nationwide Series this month. Eyes that might not otherwise tune in on Saturdays. What's the single best thing that Kyle Busch and all the other every-week series regulars can do? Once March rolls around and Danica heads back to her day job: keep 'em.
[Source: SceneDaily.com | Image: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty]