Kyle Busch is one of, if not the, most hated drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. the chorus of boos coming from the grandstands during driver introductions on any giving Cup Series race weekend is evidence of that. Busch, though, seems to have converted one of those haters the day after Michigan International Speedway race weekend that culminated in the June 10 running of the FireKeepers Casino 400.
George Berridge is an Uber driver and NASCAR fan from Allendale, Michigan, and Monday, he received notification of someone named Kyle at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, needing a ride. Berridge took the gig.
“When you are driving Uber, all you get is the first name of who you are picking up,” Berridge told Michigan Live, recounting his story. “When I got the ping for a ride, I didn’t look at the name of the person.”
To Berridge’s surprise, the customer was another, more famous driver, Busch, who wanted a ride to Berlin Raceway to compete in Monday’s “Money in the Bank” late model event at the track. Prior to his encounter with the 2015 NASCAR premier-series champion, Berridge was known by his friends on social media for making his hate of Busch known. When the self-proclaimed Busch hater picked up the NASCAR star, he even predicted a butt-kicking for Busch and shared that prediction with the driver he loved to hate.
“I yelled, ‘Rowdy Busch,’” Berridge said. “He said, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ And then I told him, ‘Are you ready to get your ass kicked tonight?’ He said, ‘Dude, my Uber driver is going to start the ride like this? Seriously?’ It was epic. I looked down and saw the name Kyle on my phone and said, ‘Oh, man.’ That wasn’t a very good way to start the ride.”
After his encounter and conversation with Busch, Berridge is not longer a Busch hater. He’s not exactly a fan, but he has a newfound respect for the NASCAR star he used to hate. He even asked to take a selfie with Busch, a request Busch granted.
“It was really cool to talk to Kyle,” Berridge said. “I told him, ‘When I see you racing in some of the Xfinity races, I don’t know how you can come from 20th to the lead in five laps. You make those cars do what no one else can do. Your talent is unbelievable.’ To go and be able to talk to a NASCAR champion, yes, my opinion has changed. I will always think he is a cry baby, but that just goes to show his competitive nature. He is not out there for a paycheck. He is out there to win races. His late model racing is a prime example of that.”
As for the butt-kicking Berridge predicted upon meeting Busch—it didn’t quite happen. Busch finished third in “Money in the Bank” the day after finishing fourth in the FireKeepers Casino 400.
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