- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 6, 2008

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Three security guards followed Kyle Busch around Lowe’s Motor Speedway yesterday, his safety presumably still in danger from victory-starved Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans incensed over the late-race accident that cost Earnhardt a victory.

But what happened with three laps left Saturday night in Richmond was nothing more than hard racing and persecuting Busch for it is hypocrisy at its worst. Sure, it has been two long years since Earnhardt last visited victory lane, and the checkered flag was certainly in sight as he and Busch jostled for position in their determined bid to claim it.

As they battled for the lead on old tires in the waning laps of a slug-it-out short track race, Busch went a tad too high and crept into Earnhardt’s space as they entered the third turn. It sucked the air from the back of Busch’s car, causing his rear to wiggle. In his effort to save it, he made contact with Earnhardt, who was drifting into Busch’s line anyway.

The touch — which was so clearly a racing accident and anything but intentional — caused Earnhardt to spin up the track and back into the wall, stretching his losing streak to an agonizing 72 straight races. He was devastated and his fans were enraged, prompting Richmond security to escort Busch out of the track for his own protection.

Where was the outcry, though, when Earnhardt dumped Busch last October in Kansas?

That accident in the early laps of the third Chase race effectively ended Busch’s title hopes, dropping him from 10 points out of the championship lead to sixth in the standings, 136 out.

But there was no backlash against Junior, who ran all over the back of Busch that day in an accident far easier to assign blame than Saturday night’s little love tap.

Given a day to think about it, Earnhardt arrived yesterday at Lowe’s two-day test session reluctant to dissect the Richmond incident any longer. He admitted the circumstances have been reversed before, and casting blame on Busch wasn’t the right thing to do.

“I took him out at Kansas last year during the Chase. That’s really why I wouldn’t be any more vocal or angry about it, because I would just be hypocritical in that sense,” Earnhardt said. “We both kind of been on each side of it now.”

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