Here it is on channel 8 http://www.wfaa.com/video/sports-index.html?nvid=288355
Itís not every day you receive an invitation to trade paint with "the Bad Boy of NASCAR."
No, no, no. Not Eddie Gossage.
And by trading paint, Iím not talking about wrecking into each other in race cars.
Iím talking paintball.
When the creative folks at Texas Motor Speedway bring in a driver to promote an upcoming event such as the Dickies 500 ó Sunday, Nov. 2! Tickets on sale now! ó they like to have the driver meet with the media in a setting a little more fun than a big room with a podium.
And nothing says fun like a trip to Fun on the Run Paintball Park in northwest Fort Worth.
Granted, the idea probably sounded like more fun, say, three weeks ago, when Busch was entering the Chase for the Sprint Cup atop the points standings.
But, as they say, the best-laid plans of mice and PR men often go awry. Mechanical failures can happen to even the best driver, although rarely for three consecutive weeks.
Thus, Busch stepped out of an SUV in the Fun on the Run parking lot basically out of the Chase race after leading the points race most of the season. And then they handed him a gun loaded with 200 balls of paint just waiting to be released at a rate of eight to 10 per second at a speed of 280 feet per second!
No wonder Busch told us afterward that his first paintball adventure had offered him a chance to "relieve a little bit of stress on a bunch of you guys."
The thing is, Busch wasnít even my main target. A media team squared off against a team led by Busch and Gossage, TMSí president, and I wanted to shoot Gossage because he likes to start those IRL races at night. Those make for tough deadlines.
Anyway, the Busch-Gossage team easily won the first two clashes. I took one in the head both times.
I never thought Iíd say this, but it was much better to get shot in the head than on the shin. At least my head was protected by a helmet. Star-Telegram colleague Anthony Andro left the first battle a workmanís comp candidate with a nasty paintball-induced bruise on his shin.
For the third and final match, we reconfigured the teams, with Busch and Gossage as captains. I was on Gossageís team and we had to defend the trophy because, as Busch said, heís the one who will go for Gossageís trophy next month.
I thought our side held the advantage when Gossage, who had been eliminated, flashed three fingers to me from outside the course to let me know how many opponents remained. Then a couple of minutes later, after I had avoided a seemingly endless barrage of shots, Gossage flashed me five fingers. Iím telling you, Iíll never again trust Gossageís TMS crowd estimates.
As one of the last defenders of the great trophy, I took out three of Buschís teammates. But I couldnít get him. In fact, he was the one who eliminated me with a shot to the chest.
As I capped my gun, raised it to signal my elimination and stood to leave the course, Busch nailed me once more behind my right ear.
Busch stayed clean again, taking the Dickies 500 trophy for the third time in three tries. He is my pick to win the trophy again next month.
Busch was having so much fun that he wanted to play some more. But, alas, not all of us can play paintball all day for a paycheck. Just part of the day.
So a smiling and playful Busch talked with us media types for a few minutes about racing and paintball.
He was asked at one point what driver he would like to take a few free shots at in paintball. He didnít bite on that one.
Then I asked him how many drivers would like to take a few free shots at him.
"Oh," he said with a laugh, "a lot of them."
After he answered my question, I felt something behind my right ear. I rubbed it and looked down to see a finger covered with yellow paint, courtesy Kyle Busch.
That was the first time I had ever interviewed someone with yellow paint behind my ear.
But, hey, thatís paintballiní.
Thought it was cool