Ryan Blaney both admires and envies Kyle Busch’s talent

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tour is on its West Coast Swing, where the oldest Major League Baseball park (Dodger Stadium) dates to 1962.

Nevertheless, the Green Monster reared its head during driver media sessions at Auto Club Speedway on Friday, when the subject of Kyle Busch’s career milestone came up.

And, no, we’re not talking about Fenway Park. We’re talking about the Green Monster in the colloquial sense.

“It almost makes me mad how good he is,” Blaney said of Busch, who has two chances this weekend to reach a combined 200 victories across NASCAR’s three national series. “As a competitor, I don’t like seeing him win. It frustrates me how he is able to find a way to be better than everybody else a lot of weekends.”

It also makes Blaney jealous.

“He’s very smart at knowing what his car needs, and you see him (often) get so much better throughout the race. He knows what he needs as the race progresses, and that’s a hard thing to do. He has figured it out—him and (crew chief) Adam Stevens—and it’s really impressive.

“You have to admire it. Even though I’m jealous of it. You have to admire it. He’s definitely up there with one of the greats, for sure, as race car drivers that will go down in history. So it’s pretty neat to watch him do it, even though I would like to be in the same spot.”

With 52 wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, 94 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and 53 in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series—the latter two of which are series records—Busch comes to Fontana with 199 combined victories.

Blaney has finished second to Busch five times, twice in the Xfinity Series and three times in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. In particular, one of those second places sticks in Blaney’s craw.

“Yeah, Indianapolis 2015 in the Xfinity car,” Blaney said. “I passed him on the restart. Led the last, I think it was 23 to go … I led the last 22-and-a-half laps, and it was my mistake how he beat me.

“Yeah, that one I will always think about. Yeah, second five times to him. I didn’t know that. It pisses me off even more. You have to appreciate what he’s done. It’s pretty spectacular.”