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Kyle Busch’s Polarizing Persona June 9, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Controversy, Drivers.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Talladega, AL 4-08 arriving for nascar race
Image via Wikipedia

Note: CBL’s Broadcast Schedule this week is below this most recent blog posting

Phone Lines Light Up – At Mention of KB’s Name

The phone lines are on melt down ever since Kyle Busch did the “rock star”, share-the- trophy-with-the team smashing of the Gibson Guitar trophy at Nashville. He won the Nationwide Series Race – but he crashed the trophy- in victory lane. It was impulsive but real emotion – yet he got criticism for being over the top.

Kyle’s fans want him to push the limits, race hard and have an outside- the-box, less than vanilla persona. Non fans are livid. One thing is for sure – simply mention this racers name and the phone lines light up. Folks want to talk about and weigh in on Kyle every week.

Because I simply could not get to all the KB calls on my show the other day and needed during the pre race coverage to get on with covering racing – I asked my listeners to write what was on their minds and that I’d post a great sample of them on my site in an unbiased manner. Here goes:

From Tennessee:
I live in Tennessee and I thought what Kyle did was AWESOME! Be a ROCK STAR if you like. It’s his trophy to do with it as he wants. The people that are getting upset need to first accept that the guy is great and second, get a grip on the history of music and rock and roll. I guess they are mad because Nashville is not Rock and Roll headquarters. Cleveland, OH is. If Sam Bass is OK with it, than the rest of the world needs to take a chill pill. Way to go SMOKE!

From Jesse in Orlando:
This kid is slowly pushing the limits of what fans will tolerate in a supposedly professional racer. This kid tries every, way shape or form to irritate and unsettle some traditions of NASCAR. Plus this person is a role model for future generations, you do not teach destruction to young people. Kyle is not a rock star, he is a sports figure. We do not want children imitating this imbecile. Kyle mostly acts before the mind goes in gear, he has no conception of fallout. This causes him to be extremely dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether or not he had Sam’s or NASCAR’s Blessing. He is a shock jock of the first order and therefore will likely drive many parents to prevent their kids from watching NASCAR. Controversy only causes momentary spikes in ratings. I also take offence to the many times this is being replayed on TV. This is to give Media fuel for the fire. This will not ultimately help the TV nor Radio ratings as this gets old quickly. Too bad he doesn’t know how to lose, he would go much further if he did. Life is the judge of how successful a person is, and this kid is not winning this war. Plus there are a slew Rock n Roll figures that committed suicide because they could not deal with reality. Trophies are not expendable guitars. Ask any racer who has lost ones in fires or had them stolen. Many non-fans who viewed “Talladega Nights” thinking this is what NASCAR is all about. Not a true picture of what NASCAR racing is at all. Kyle is portraying the same image as Ricky Bobby, and I take offense. For every action there is reaction, mine is disgust.

From Mike:
KB is an idiot. If he wanted his to have a piece of the trophy order one and cut it up for them . But don’t show disrespect as many of us saw it . Yes he can drive a race car, and if I were J.D. Gibbs he would be standing tall in my office Monday morning. Idiot!!

From Kenny in Delaware:
Kyle Bush. What can be said? I’m not a fan per say but here is another case where I give kudos. The trophy smashing was a classic. I don’t think he meant any disrespect to Nashville Super Speedway or Sam Bass. He wanted his crew to have a piece of the trophy. There are many rock band guitarists who smash their guitars at concerts. I believe he was mimicking that act and also getting his team the pieces he needed to give to them. It is freedom of speech. A way to express himself. Many will agree with this act and many won’t. But it was his trophy and his choice. It was his freedom that let him do this. And it is his right.

All sports need more celebrities who are spontaneous and natural and not some puppet on a string who always do what is politically correct. This is what makes Kyle, Kyle. I applaud him for it and encourage him and others to continue on with being themselves.

From Brian in Morristown, Tennessee
Can you say “Actions detrimental to NASCAR Racing”!!!!!!!!!
Kyle Bush’s actions in winners circle should brought into question. Is it appropriate for anyone to destroy there trophy. Yes you can say it was a “rock star moment” but after that I don’t care to even see him on the track again. I’m not Kyle bashing, I would be upset without regard to whoever did something like, that it’s just un-sportsman like conduct. If he wants to do something to share with his team, why not tear up the winnings check and hand out the pieces. Yes it is his trophy, but he is a representative of the NASCAR family.

From Cheri in Kentucky:
I was appalled when I saw Kyle Busch smash the trophy at Nashville. Not only was it a trophy, it was a work of art. His “rock star” analogy does not work. When a rock star smashes his or her guitar, it is the instrument they use to touch the fans, the “tool” of their trade. And it can easily be replaced. They don’t smash their platinum records, or music awards. These are displayed proudly. Kyle smashed a trophy, a work of art, and what should have been a revered memento of his win at that track. If he wanted to emulate a rock star, he should have taken a saws-all to the car, the tool of his trade. Sam Bass’s comments after he talked to “kyle” show that he is a class act. No artist could appreciate seeing a piece of their work destroyed by a brat. I do not blame the fans at Nashville one bit for uninviting him to their local track. That young man is in need of some serious “home training.” He is a perpetual sore loser, and cannot even figure out how to be a gracious winner. His actions make NASCAR less enjoyable for me.

From Heidi in Lewisberry PA
I defend Kyle’s right under the Constitution to do what he did to the Sam Bass guitar and even found it honorable that he would keep the promise he made to his crew to smash it, so all may have a piece of the trophy. I even found it to be an entertaining Victory Lane celebration. However, at the same time the guitar was smashed, my heart cried. It wasn’t just a guitar that was smashed, it was a piece of artwork that was destroyed. I found it comparable to burning a fine piece of literature or even the flag of our fine country.

From Bryan:
Plain and simple. Sounds like Sam Bass accepted Kyle’s explanation, so that should be the end of it. What some people don’t understand ,is Kyle was just doing his imitation of Pete Townsend, and Paul Stanley. Two rock icons that were known for breaking guitars on stage. I’m sure there are others besides them, that has done it. For those who got offended, or feels disrespected.get over it! Sam is and so should you. What’s next, you gonna sue him for pain and suffering?

From Texas:
Claire no matter what Kyle does he is wrong.Tony in TX

From Bob in Bedford, Texas
I was delighted to meet you a couple of years ago at TMS. I wanted to share my disgust about Kyle Busch’s destruction of the beautiful Gibson. I am a guitar player and own some beautiful Martin acoustic instruments. I am sure there are thousands players like me that are NASCAR fans and will NEVER have anything but disgust at his wanton destruction of a beautiful instrument made more special by the artistry of Sam Bass.

I sort of admired Kyle for his skill but now realize he is so far removed from the fans that he has no regard for this valuable instrument. I guess it just shows what happens to these kids when they become millionaires before they reach 21. I don’t buy the stupid excuse that he wanted to share it with his team.

A pox on his house.

From Kevin In Fort Myers, Florida:
I think that KB is a good driver but he is immature! very immature!!
I thought that the guitar smashing was disrespectful for the sport/sam bass/and the tn speedway
He would have finished better at pocono if he wasn’t such a punk at Nashville. Karma!
Kevin House

From Alberto in Nazar, Texas
I sent an email last year about Gordon blaming Jr when he got beat by Kyle Busch- just so you know…..let’s talk about what’s happening now. Brace yourself. I hear a lot of phone calls about Kyle that scares the hell out of me- the state of mind of the callers is what scares me. Yesterday I blew my top when I heard a lady with a husband and 2 daughters who loves Jr and Harvick complain about Kyle’s statement-so hear me out. I can’t tell you what Kyle was thinking when he said that but I’ll tell you what I think he was thinking-he was putting himself on the line to defend a friend who is going to become the next victim they are going to have with the mess with Jr. He was concerned about the crew chief that helped him out when he was driving the #5. He knew the facts -the risk-and that’s why he said what he said. So I’d like to tell that lady to spend more time teaching her daughters not to hate anybody. Being hateful to others is wrong and is not the right way to live. I am not a Kyle fan-my driver died a long time ago. And a lot of your listeners don’t know he won lots of races driving Oldsmobile #2 , Pontiac #2 and Ford #15 before he drove a bowtie product-#3. When someone put a mike in his face he spoke his peace and a lot of times they had to turn the mike off.- when he was running to his hauler trying to escape people chasing him he said “I don’t have a TV in my car”- “its just racing Man”. Kyle reminds me a lot of him. I don’t think he has to look back at anything or apologize to the Jr fans because Jr is not
winning races. If he goes and says what he feels they bitch about it-and when he runs to his hauler without talking to anybody they bitch about it. Get over it Man. This is not a beauty parlor contest-it’s just racing.

Love you and God Bless You-I listen to you all the time

From Ron in Chicago:
The very instant I saw Dumb#%& Kyle Busch try to smash his guitar into pieces I thought “I can’t believe how big of As57ole he really is! Buy doing what he did, I and many others, thought he disrespected Nashville speedway, Gibson Guitars, Sam Bass and everyone who has ever won one of these rare and beautiful guitars. I noticed that after he did that the representatives from Federated Auto Parts (the race sponsor) walked out of victory lane. I think someone should but this idiot in his place. Sure he is a great driver, but he has ZERO respect for almost everyone and everything. Why does he think his crap doesn’t stink, and that everyone else at any given race is below him. I for one, even though he is a great driver, will NEVER be a fan because it is time for him to grow up, act his age and show just a little responsibility for his actions. I say, I hope he never sells another die-cast, hat, shirt or anything else. I would really like to see M&M’s pull their sponsorship and move it to a driver that would do them proud. Kyle is just a immature BRAT.

You are either on one side or the other regarding Kyle Busch and, on this issue, there is a line in the sand and the NASCAR fans are divided. Some folks are really upset. I can understand some of that – it’s everyone’s right to have an opinion and for some – Kyle should have thought through the perception of it all even though it was his trophy.

Fans always bring in him talking to the media or not when he doesn’t win. I am used to taking the approach the drivers take – race someone as they race you no matter what he does to anyone else and Kyle has always been fair to me and never rude, not once. I don’t run after race car drivers as the run from the track if they don’t want to be interviewed – you know that. I usually figure I’ll give the time to someone who wants or needs the exposure at that moment. If a guy is too mad to talk – it means that he is so mad he doesn’t want to talk. I think I get the picture. Sure everyone wants to hear what he might say.

Kyle has admitted himself that he is a sore looser and indeed he is – even he admits that. Way too much sometimes it seems but how do I know what motivates him to be up on the edge? Does racing so many races in so many series keep a guy up on it emotionally to the point that keeping the edge prevents him from handling not winning in an appropriate manner? I wonder.

Point is – it doesn’t matter what Kyle does –appropriate or not – people want to talk about him. He gives us fodder plenty of times to discuss his actions but even on a quiet week for him – I mention his name related to qualifying or practice and the phone lines light up. It’s wild to see. Do folks want him to misbehave so they can talk about him? Do fans desire that in a sport?
I’ll post more of these later – I am just getting unpacked from Pocono. I’ve not posted for a while -but have now caught up on things and will be back on the blog regularly.

Broadcast Schedule This Coming Weekend:
Dialed In with Claire B. Lang at the following times:
Wed. June 10 –“Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Charlotte, NC Studio
Thursday, June 11 – “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan
Friday, June 12 – “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan
Saturday, June 13, “Dialed In” 1-1:30 EST LIVE from Michigan leading into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 200 in Michigan
AND Saturday “Dialed In” 4-8 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan leading into the Meijer 300 Nationwide Race in Kentucky

CBL Pre and Post Race:
Sunday, June 14th -Claire B is in the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio booth for the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race show which starts at: 10:15 a.m. EST
Claire B will be in Victory Lane LIVE after the race and “Dialed In” will follow the post race show two hours after the race is over until 10 p.m.EST.

Time to unpack!
Enjoy the day.
Claire B

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1. C-Pain - June 9, 2009

If Karma is the reason Kyle has bad races .What must the other drivers be guilty of doing? He has over 50 plus wins in 5 years. Is he faster than Karma. Does he get to the checkered flag before KARMA can catch him?? The other drivers need to repent for their crimes against humanity. Karma may allow them back to Victory Lane. Judging by his stats Karma must like him. Jeff Gordon used to be criticized for thanking GOD. You cant win in the court of public opinion. The majority can still be wrong. There was a time when the MAJORITY thought the earth was flat. I do know one thing the Nascar planet has been turned upside down. Go Kyle shake , smash and roll.

2. rob harris - June 9, 2009

kyle wins again…because everybody is still talking. It’s the day that they stop talking about him that he needs to worry

3. MTD in NC - June 9, 2009

I just REALLY wonder what everyone would be saying if someone ELSE – say JUNIOR – had done it???

4. Jeffro - June 9, 2009

Kyle has limited people skills. He grew up racing constantly. I’d really doubt he’s had much peer exposure. He’s still basically a kid emotionally. Steve Addington has to be a very patient man – I’m sure there are days he’d like to warm Kyle’s butt. Kyle has improved – his tantrums have decreased with some age and experience.

Personally, I don’t care for him (yeah, go figure!). But there is no denying his raw talent and drive. I suspect his drive, manners and passion are intertwined, so if he does become politically correct, he’ll lack the drive to win. It’s hardly a stretch to predict that he will keep things interesting for at least a few years.

So, I’ll be cheering against him. But, I’ll be relishing the controversies and enjoying watching his talent on the track.

5. Jack - June 9, 2009

Hi Claire,
This is Jack of Vinny and Jack from New York. We talk to you quite a bit in the garage at Charlotte ,Richmond, and Pocono. We saw you this past weekend at Pocono. As much as I hate to bring it up…I have to get my two cents in on “The Guitar Incident”. I will be contradicting myself here…because my feeling is that if folks don’t like what Kyle Busch is all about and his behavior…they should just ignore him! He is relishing his role as the latest Nascar Bad Boy and the boos and the beer cans just add fuel to the fire. Whether he likes it or not…being the excellent driver that he is….Kyle Busch also has the opportunity to be a spokesman and promoter of the sport of NASCAR at a time when it needs promoting most. Track attendance is down( unfilled parking lots at Pocono)….TV viewership is down.( ratings speak for themselves)…corporate ticket sales are down ( owner of Bristol stated many tickets available for August race)…sponsorships are hard to come by ( Current Truck Champ Johnny Benson is out of a ride). And what does Kyle Busch do when he is in the spot light at Victory Circle? He destroys a beautiful, expensive, custom -made Gibson Les Paul electric guitar in front of tens of thousands of fans and millions of viewers. My God…..If I were a first time viewer of NASCAR I would have thought that it belonged in the same category as “professional” wrestling!! How disrespectful! Young Busch has displayed many times in the past that he has not yet attained nor do I think he ever will the maturity to handle the position in which he finds himself at this time. I could repeat a litany of situations that demonstrate this …..but I won’t. I will however mention one other particular incident that is especially telling about Kyle Busch’s attitude and arrogance. I can’t quote him word for word but the incident of which I speak was an interview I heard with him on Sirius Radio. He was asked what the recent race at Darlington meant to him…..the old Southern 500. He was asked if it was just another race to win or if it had any special significance. Well he basically said…that being that he comes from Las Vegas and not from the South that he does not feel any of the tradition that goes along with The Southern 500….that yes it was just another race for him to try to win. Well, Claire…..I was born and raised in New York and I certainly understand and indeed feel the tradition that surrounds Darlington and the Southern 500. It just seems that Kyle Busch will say anything and do anything to irritate NASCAR fans. I know ….this is America….and you can say what you feel. But if he had even a shred of respect for the history and tradition of the sport that has made him very rich and very famous ….or infamous….he would do his best to chose his words and actions more carefully as to not allienate the fans whose ticket dollars and diecast dollars have put him in that position. I am sick and tired of hearing people….including a man that I like very much….Choc Meyers….saying …”I like the fire in him”……”Nascar needs someone like him”. Well, Chocolate ….no it doesn’t…NASCAR needs people with his ability to get a race car from the green to the checkered as well as he does…but it does not need his arrogance and his disrespectful attitude. I recall Chocolate talking about the recent Carl Long situation. He said he was sick of all the “buts” that everyone was throwing in. Yeah…he broke the rule…..BUT….it’s Carl Long. Yeah….he broke the rule…BUT… he got the engine from someone else. Yeah the fine is $200,000….BUT….. Carl can’t afford that much. Well ,Chocolate …..what you are saying is…”Yeah…it was disrespectful….BUT…it was his trophy and we need his fire and BUT and BUT and BUT. Claire, I could go on all day here but like I said …I am contradicting myself by even wasting computer time on this guy. I think he still has an opportunity to turn things around…..BUT……He’d better do it pretty quickly. Keep up the good work Claire…..Vin and I might see you at The Glen or possibly Charlotte in October. If not….we’ll catch up with you at Richmond in May. Stay well.

6. Racemaster - June 10, 2009

bushbaby thrives on noteriety.

NASCAR and J. Gibbs don’t have the sand to rein him in because they think he is increasing viewership.

It is up to the fans to stop this idiocy by acting on their own. From now on, every time he is introduced and/or takes a parade lap before the race, turn your back on him to show your disdain for him. You will far outnumber the 3 or 4 fans he now has.

It’s either that or send Jimmy Spencer down to give him a “tuneup” like his brother got here a while back.

7. 3KillerBs - June 10, 2009

I’m a tremendous Kyle Busch fan. I fell for his energy and enthusiasm when I first saw him in his second Busch race.

I thought the guitar smashing was somewhere between goofy and stupid but, as you repeated many times this weekend, it was neither malicious nor evil.

Young men do dumb things sometimes. When he’s in his 40’s Kyle will probably regret a certain amount of them. But there seem to be a lot of fans and media people who need to develop both a sense of humor and a sense of perspective.

At one point in the coverage of this issue there was a guy on a long rant about how when rock stars smash guitars they are special prop instruments, not the real thing. Who knew? I’m old enough to remember when a rock star smashing his guitar was new and fresh and I didn’t know that. How was Kyle supposed to?

When I saw Kyle raise that guitar I was taken aback. My thought was, “You aren’t really going to do that, are you?” Then he did and I laughed and thought little more than that Kyle had gone a bit over the top and might need someone to tell him that Nashville was the home of country not rock, but that there was little significance to the act.

It was probably foolish, but harmless. And if a 24yo star athlete can’t engage in some foolish but harmless , over-the-top showmanship who on earth can?

IMO the firestorm has more to do with people looking for an excuse to bash Kyle than about any intrinsic problem with Kyle’s less than 100% successful rock star impression.

And I am 100% convinced that had Dale Jr. won one of those Richmond guitars from the Rock and Roll race and smashed that it would have been dubbed the greatest post-race celebration ever by the same people who are all over Kyle.

8. HS - June 10, 2009

Oh please, enough with the overreaction about the guitar.
The whole “smashing the guitar” thing has been done for YEARS!
Why is everyone so upset? And what RIGHT do they have to BE upset?
Kyle WON the race and therefore won the race trophy. It’s his to do with as he sees fit. If he wants to make a little press by smashing it to the ground, then by all means let him smash HIS guitar.
It’s not Sam’s, the tracks, the sponsors, mine, yours or anyone else’s say. Maybe next year someone else will win and they can hold it lovingly, thank the sponsors and put in on the mantel. BORING!
Will people be talking about the Nationwide Victory Lane 4 days later?!?! I assure you they will not. People LOVE a good story, particularly if they have something to complain about. I say, “Give them something to complain about Kyle!”, it beats anything else out there in the NASCAR world right now.

9. dj - June 10, 2009

I think Kyle busch has sh@@ for brains. Their was an article written on June 8th by Jeff Gluck called Artist Sam Bass ‘heartbroken’ over Kyle Busch guitar smash. If you read that article you know that Mr. Bass did not like what Kyle did. The sponsors of that race also left victory lane when Kyle smashed the guitar. So it was not just the people who is not a Kyle busch fan but also the sponsors of that race. Mr. Bass has designed 30 guitar for Nascar and the comment that Kyle made “Those sorry saps tak’em home in one piece”. That alone says to be that Kyle thinks the guitar is ugly or crappy and why would anyone want the guitar hanging on their wall. Well 29 other driver disagree with him. He not only called Mr. Bass name but the other 29 drivers who cherish the beautiful guitar he designed. Why Joe Gibbs put up with stuff like this I will never know . Joe Gibbs has had some great driver like Tony and Bobby. A lot of people like to compare Kyle with Dale, Sr. and Darrell. Could someone please point out when in their careers that either of those two driver shows so much disrespect for a sponsor, a trophy designer, and other drivers as Kyle did? Why journalist keep comparing Kyle to other great driver is beyond me? He had one good season and won a lot of races but the great driver you keep comparing had a career of great years. Back when Tony was saying stuff and getting into trouble he was entertaining but Kyle is just rude, disrespectful and show what low class he really is so the journalist who blow smoke up his back and makes his head get even bigger than before you write and encourage kid to follow in Kyle footsteps. Not a good road to walk.

10. Marybeth - June 10, 2009

Was KB tested for drugs following his Sat. behavior, from the time he got off his helicopter to his smashing the trophy…? I asked the same question after he deliberately wrecked Colin Braun, the race leader, and Brian Scott during the Charlotte truck race.
June 10, 6:21 PM

11. Jeff from MN - June 18, 2009

Kyle is the MONSTER of Nascar just like Dale Earnhadt. Kyle will drive around you anywhere anytime. Dale Earnhardt had to bully his way around you usually unless he was on his famous swap move. Kyle is a Monster racer and not a media and fan darling yet like Dale was.

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