By admin | May 30, 2009
By Richard Allen
Darrell Waltrip says he doesn’t know whether Kyle Busch loves to win or hates to lose more. Well, Busch obviously loves to win. And, he does indeed hate to lose.
After he wins he provides engaging interviews. However, after he loses he often runs and hides from all cameras and microphones, as was the case with the MRN radio crew after the Nationwide race in Dover.
After dominating much of that race and looking like a sure winner, he had a problem on the final restart and finished 17th.
Granted, Busch planned to drive in the upcoming Camping World Truck Series race but it is likely that had he won the Nationwide race he would have stayed around for the victory lane interviews rather than run into his team’s hauler.
Busch’s frequent interview ducking reminds me of a story related to me by a NASCAR insider regarding another driver who did not exactly enjoy doing interviews after losing.
Dale Earnhardt, Sr. had a reputation of not hanging around if he did not win a race. As a matter of fact, his pilots were instructed to have his plane ready to leave immediately upon his arrival at the airport so they could be first in line to hit the runway.
After one particular race, Senior had finished in the Top 3 but had not won. The Top 3 finishers are required to attend a post-race press conference inside the track’s media center. Earnhardt had less than perfect attendance at those pressers.
He left the track quickly and arrived at the airport only to find his pilots milling around the plane and obviously not ready to take off. He gestured for them to board the plane and get going. The pilots in turn indicated that someone was already on the plane who wished to have a word with ‘The Intimidator’.
Earnhardt entered to find a cigarette smoking man seated leisurely on the plane. Rather than the ‘Cigarette Smoking Man’ from the X-Files, it was none other than Bill France, Jr.
According to the story, Mr. France then proceeded to engage Earnhardt in a conversation about what was expected of NASCAR drivers after a race. The conversation lasted just long enough for all the other drivers’ planes to get to the taxi way ahead of Senior’s. Message delivered.
No one likes to lose but Busch should be more accommodating to the media even when the results are not as he would have liked. After all, he certainly is not afraid of speaking his mind in front of the microphones. He proved that on Friday when he sounded off about the crew chief swap on Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s team.
Perhaps someone needs to be waiting in young Mr. Busch’s hauler when he runs away from the media in post-race situations.
By the way, this column is not meant to be a condemnation of Busch’s speaking out on Friday. I wish more drivers would do so rather than always spewing out the non-controversial, politically correct answers every time they are asked a question.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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