Aftermath, Richmond: The 'New Kyle' Busch Only Exists Inside The Car

It was the quote that launched 1,000 stories.

Kyle Busch's offhanded remark about "the old Kyle Busch" and "the new one" immediately became fodder for those eager to proclaim (yet again) that Busch is now mature, grown up, mellower, calmer, more patient, kinder, funnier and friendlier than before.

We went through this "Busch is maturing" thing when he was with Hendrick Motorsports. Then it popped up again when he arrived at Joe Gibbs Racing. Then we heard it after he did an engaging interview with ESPN last summer, then after he won his first championship, became a truck team owner, got engaged, etc.

None of it ever happened.

People have been waiting for Kyle Busch to change for years now. And at the ripe old age of 25, guess what? It's time to give it up.

He's not going to change. For you, for me, for anyone.

The "new" Kyle is the same as the "old" Kyle, so don't let his quote after winning Richmond confuse you. Busch wasn't talking about being any different outside of the race car. He was referring to, as he put it, being "a little more patient" inside the car.

That's a great thing for his future championship hopes and a good sign for the success of his team, because Busch has lost his temper too quickly in the past and cost himself positions during races.

And if Busch is going to live up to his potential and become the greatest driver ever by the time his career is finished, being more patient in the face of on-track adversity will only help his cause.

But outside of the car? Those close to Busch know he's virtually the same Kyle he's always been: Often difficult, surly and flat-out hostile when he wants to be.

He balances some of those moments with sarcastic humor (which is sometimes funny and other times rotten) and he can be engaging and downright pleasant in certain situations.

Usually, though, that seems to happen in one of two ways: Either he's just won a race (which makes everything right in his world) or fianceé Samantha Sarcinella is nearby.

Busch used to almost egg on his detractors, waving his hands at a booing crowd for more noise and logging on to fan message boards to read harsh comments about himself.

He seems less eager to embrace the bad guy role now, and instead appears more comfortable in his own skin than ever before.

With that, he's appeared to become more confident about defending himself to the naysayers, with the recent rain delay interview with ESPN during the Texas Nationwide race where he went head-to-head with Rusty Wallace being a prime example.

When he feels he's right about something, Busch isn't the type to back down.

"It's tough at times having a constructive conversation with Kyle, but we make it work," teammate Denny Hamlin said. "You just gotta learn his language."

Sarcinella seems to speak it better than anyone. An upbeat, peppy ray of sunshine, Sarcinella has a psychology degree from Purdue and is studying for her Master's.

No one – even Joe Gibbs – has been able to tame Busch in the way people expected when the driver signed with JGR. If there's anyone who has brought out Busch's more personable side, it's Sarcinella.

But a "new" Kyle? If anything, that's inside the car. Outside of it, "new Kyle" looks a lot like the old one.

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