By admin | June 7, 2009
By Richard Allen
I have written columns in which I supported Kyle Busch for speaking his mind and not being afraid to openly criticize his opponents, NASCAR or anyone else who he may deem necessary. It is important that drivers speak their minds rather than spew out scripted, ‘yes man’ type answers.
I have also written columns in which I have been critical of Busch for being engaging after a win but then running to hide when he has a race to go bad. However, even hiding from the media is not embarrassing, just rude and childish.
This time, there is no defense for his silly and immature behavior. He definitely crossed the line.
The folks at the Nashville Super Speedway are rightfully proud of the unique trophy they provide for the winners of their Nationwide Series races. Many drivers proudly display a specially designed Gibson guitar which is the signature prize for a Nashville victory.
Busch decided to treat his a little differently. Instead of putting it on display in his personal trophy case or giving the coveted gift a place of honor at the Joe Gibbs Racing shop, he thought it best to smash the guitar in victory lane.
With officials from the track and no doubt with dignitaries from the Gibson company there, or at least watching, he took something that means a great deal to them and desecrated in front of a live audience and scores of viewers on television.
I have read and heard it said that it is his trophy and he can do with it as he pleases. Well, technically that is true. But let me ask those who think that this question, do you take a sweater your grandmother painstakingly knitted for you and burn it right in front of her? After all, it’s yours so you can do with it as you like.
I have also read and heard that Kyle Busch is a rock star and this is the sort of thing rock stars do. Well, I was under the impression he was a race car driver. I have not heard any recordings he has put out. But hey, rock stars also do drugs. So I guess if NASCAR wants rock stars they can drop that whole drug testing thing and let Jeremy Mayfield back in.
For many years one draw that NASCAR had over other sports is that their competitors do not act like the thugs and spoiled brats of other sports leagues. With one act, Kyle Busch confirmed that is no longer true.
And to make things worse, instead of being ashamed of their driver’s behavior, NASCAR had the moment displayed on the front page of NASCAR.com, almost as if to say, “We are proud that we have punks just like the other sports.”
Apparently to make it all better Busch said he had previously planned to do this idiotic act so that each member of his crew could have a piece of the prize. Then, he intended to buy two more, one for him and one for his crew chief. That makes it worse, not better.
Busch and the NASCAR apologists keep saying that guitar designer Sam Bass and the Gibson people are fine with what he did. I’d like to ask them that in confidence.
What that confirms to people struggling through a difficult economic time is that NASCAR drivers are overpaid and grossly wasteful. It’s bad enough that they fly all over the country in their private jets and have their oversized, palace like homes thrown in everyone’s faces on special television shows, but they also can take expensive, hand crafted gifts and deliberately smash them to pieces. Then declare, “Oh well, I’ll just get two more.”
If NASCAR wants to impose heavy fines on drivers pick Kyle Busch for his silly, immature behavior instead of hard working people like Carl Long.
Busch should be made to drive, not fly, to Nashville to personally apologize to the people who spent long hours crafting that guitar. Then, when he asks to have two more made I hope they tell him to… Well, you fill in the blank.
Wonder what he plans to do if he wins that grandfather clock in Martinsville?
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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