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Mention Kyle Busch in NASCAR circles, and you will hear expressions of respect for his unquestionable driving skills. And most of the time you also will get a long rejoinder that slices apart his people skills, cites several of his landmark tantrums and chronicles his spats and feuds with various other drivers.
It's a mixed bag with Busch, with the talent heavy on one side of the scale, and the adult-onset orneriness always threatening to throw off the balance from the other side.
Step away from the big stage, however, and you get a different read on one of stock car racing's reigning bad boys. Around the short tracks Busch, who plans to race in a Late Model event at Toledo Speedway in a couple of weeks, is regarded as racing royalty.
"Anytime you can get a NASCAR driver here, that adds to the night," Toledo Speedway general manager Scott Schultz said about Busch's scheduled Aug. 14 visit. "To get Kyle Busch, considering his hectic schedule and the attention he attracts both on and off the track, is a pretty big story for Toledo Speedway."
Busch, who competes full time in both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series and runs a partial schedule in the Camping World Truck Series, has led a phenomenal 2,994 laps this season while running in NASCAR's top three circuits.
He is leading the Nationwide Series in points, is 10th in Cup
and 19th in the Truck Series, although he has raced in just seven of the 12 Truck Series events, to date.
Busch, a Las Vegas native, has six top-10 finishes in those seven Truck Series races.
"Love or hate him, he can wheel a race car," Schultz said about Busch, who last year won 21 races in NASCAR's three national series, including eight in the Sprint Cup Series.
"He still races at short tracks, and in our book, that's the kind of guy we are very pleased to have on board. He really likes the [Toledo] track."
Busch will compete at Toledo Speedway in the CRA Super Series Late Model 100. Busch will be in the area in advance of that weekend's races at Michigan International Speedway. The Nationwide Series runs at MIS on Aug. 15 with the Sprint Cup event the next day.
RAGAN/FLAT ROCK: On Aug. 15, the day after NASCAR driver Kyle Busch runs in a Late Model event at Toledo Speedway, rising stock car racing star David Ragan will make an appearance at Toledo's sister track - Flat Rock Speedway in Michigan.
Ragan, who drives the No. 6 UPS Ford for Roush Racing in the Cup Series, also competes in the Nationwide Series. He finished third in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2005, before signing to race with Roush.
Ragan will greet fans and sign autographs at Flat Rock after completing his racing obligations earlier in the day at MIS. Schultz said Ragan, a native of Georgia who comes from a racing family, is a terrific ambassador for the sport.
"David Ragan has not forgotten his roots," Schultz said. "He is a great young man and talent. He is mentoring a driver in the RE/MAX Series this season, and he ran in the May Toledo ARCA race. You can't ask for anything more. We think he's just a step away from becoming one of the big winners with NASCAR."
Flat Rock Speedway is on Telegraph Road, about one mile south of Flat Rock and five minutes from I-75 or I-275.
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