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Kyle Busch acts like 'spoiled brat'

by Dave Grayson
Monday, June 8, 2009


Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota celebrates by smashing the Gibson Guitar given to the winner after winning in Nashville
Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
In the sixties a British rock band, known as The Who, emerged on the music scene. During the process of creating what turned out to be an iconic career, the band fortified their presence by smashing their instruments at the conclusion of their shows. This was especially true of lead guitarist Pete Townshend who could swing a Gibson guitar over his head with the force of John Henry's mythical steel driving hammer.

For those of you who watched Saturday's Nationwide Series race from the Nashville Superspeedway you already know where this is going.

First off let's be completely fair here by pointing out that race winner Kyle Busch did an outstanding job en route to winning this race. He led 173 of the 225 laps for his fourth series win of the season and the 25th series career win. His performance was flawless.

It's a Nashville Superspeedway tradition to award its race winners with a very special trophy: a custom painted, and very expensive, Gibson Les Paul guitar. The artwork for this instrument was designed by renown artist Sam Bass.

After taking the checkered flag, Busch came over the radio and said "guitar pieces for everyone." We soon found out what that meant when Busch began smashing that beautiful guitar in victory lane. It was just the latest jaw dropping, eyebrow raising, antics from the driver known as "Rowdy." By the way, he should stick to driving a race car. His rock n roll presentation leaves a lot to be desired.

As in the case of previous Kyle Busch behavioral patterns, a Joe Gibbs Racing spin doctor was called to the scene to administer some first aid. In the aftermath of Busch's latest antics, the Gibbs Racing fix-it person explained that Busch had received permission from both Gibson Guitars and artist Sam Bass to smash the custom trophy. It was further explained that the driver plans to have the guitar dismantled in equal pieces which will be autographed and presented to the members of his team. There was also a mention that said Busch had ordered two replicas of the guitar.

I personally would have preferred to see him leave the guitar intact, autograph it and donate to a charity auction where it would seriously generate a lot of donations. The Nationwide Series teams spent a portion of their Nashville weekend helping to raise money for the area Red Cross unit in support of the April 10th tornado victims in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee. That guitar trophy could have raised a lot of money to help those people.

Perhaps I'm overreacting a little here. But as a longtime musician, who spent a few decades playing guitar in bands, I literally cringed as I watched that beautiful instrument getting smashed to pieces. It was that same feeling I had in 1970 when I watched Pete Townshend smash a Gibson.

Many call this driver "Rowdy." I call him "Brat." I can't imagine the circumstances that would lead me to fill out an application to join his fan club. But, in one hundred percent total honesty, I still have to maintain the position that Kyle Busch is still one of the best things that has happened to NASCAR racing in quite a few years. I suppose I should also thank him for the work that he provides me.

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