To say Kyle Busch dominated the ARCA weekend at Nashville Superspeedway would be a healthy understatement.
Making his debut with Hendrick Motorsports, who stole him away from Roush Racing just weeks ago, Busch was the fastest in all practice sessions, grabbed the pole by shattering Frank Kimmel's old track record, blew everyone away in Happy Hour and pretty well dominated the PFG Lester 150.
''It is great to come right out of the box and win like this," said Busch, who had team owner Rick Hendrick in attendance to watch his win. "We had a great team effort here. We came here and tested and that helped tremendously. We were good out front. That is where we really wanted to be to avoid all of the troubles that normally happen in these races, especially at this track. It is a tough track.
"It was amazing to be able to beat Frank Kimmel, who's the master here in Nashville."
Busch, making his second-career ARCA start, didn't just beat Kimmel; he dominated him and the other 38 drivers in the field. Busch led 84 of the race's 113 laps, and probably would have led even more if Ron Cox and Christi Passmore hadn't led so many laps under one of several caution flags.
It surely doesn't hurt that Busch drives a Hendrick car that out-powers more than ¾ of the ARCA field. Busch's record qualifying lap would have safely put him in Sunday's Busch race near midpack. In practice, Busch was a second faster than the sixth-quickest car.
But nonetheless, Busch kept his poise, something he had trouble doing in ASA races he ran in 2002, and kept his #87 Ditech.com Chevrolet out front.
Kimmel was the only one to pass Busch on the track for the lead, which he did early in the race, only to lose the lead in the pits. Kimmel, who has won three races at Nashville Speedway, admits that Busch is a great driver with some great equipment.
"'He is a good, young racer and, man, he's got some great equipment," said Kimmel, the defending ARCA champion. "'He was fast. We all knew he would be really good with his talent and his equipment. Everyone knew how good he is and he showed it tonight. He did a great job behind the wheel."
Kimmel, who is a well-known jokester, admitted he thought about spinning Busch into the infield after Busch faked a pit stop at one point in the race. Kimmel said he refrained from doing so, saying "the fans may have liked it."
Kyle Busch hoisted the gutiar.
Following Kimmel in the race for second place was Brent Sherman. Sherman admitted that Busch's success had a lot to do with his equipment.
"Many kids have the talent to do what he does but don't get the opportunity," said Sherman. "Don't get me wrong, he did a great job, but there are a lot of great drivers out
there that would compete in races with equipment like that."
All Pro Champion Jeff Fultz was second best to Busch all weekend long. He qualified second and was second fastest in many of the practice sessions, but fell back to come home fourth in the race. Local driver Darryl Sage finished fifth.
Hendrick had nothing bad to say about his newest prodigy.
"I don't know that I've ever seen anyone with as much talent as Kyle, including Jeff Gordon at the same age," said Hendrick. "Kyle's got a tremendous amount of talent."
That isn't bad company, or bad talk from a guy that knows how to pick them. Busch will try to make it two for two when he takes on Kentucky Speedway next month.
Bad news for everyone else, as Busch is planning to test there next week.