Monday, June 05, 2017

Drivers Divided Over Busch's Post-Race Conduct

"It's genetic. That's just who I am."
Kyle Busch says people should learn to accept his sometimes surly post-race demeanor.

Not everyone in the NASCAR Garage agrees.

Busch drew criticism from some corners two weeks ago, after a terse post-race press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he gave a sullen, six-word answer about his runner-up finish to Austin Dillon in the Coca-Cola 600, before ending the session with an abrupt mic drop.

Busch attempted to explain his post-600 unhappiness last weekend at Dover International Speedway,, saying, “There were a lot of things on the line that meant a lot to me (and) would have been special to me. I guess I should care less about those things and not show that sort of emotion.”

Busch admitted that he is not the most gracious loser in the sport, but argued that after 13 years as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, people should be willing to cut him some slack.

“Different people show their emotions in different ways,”: said Busch. “And unfortunately for me, mine has never been very gracious. I don’t know that it ever will be. I’m learning that, as the days go on. My son is two years old (and) I see where that came from. It’s genetic. I’m sorry, that’s just who I am. That’s what I was given. If there’s anyone to blame, it’s probably the guy upstairs.

“I can probably get better and go to training and classes… but I don’t know," added the 2015 MENCS champion. "It is the way it is. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been blessed (and) to be in the opportunity that I’m in. I’ve got great partners and sponsors that are with me, and they’ve stuck with me through a lot worse than what happened this week.

“The people that are close to me understand me, know me and know who I am outside the race track as a person, as a friend. That’s why I’m able to continue to have the relationships and the sponsorships that I do.”

Brad Keselowski, however, is having none of it.

The Penske Racing driver called out Busch following his Coke 600 dust-up, saying via Twitter, "Maybe I should keep my mouth shut (but) I was taught to hate losing by working harder next time, not by being disrespectful to others. Not sure how or when "hating losing" got defined in this manner, but I'm pretty sure it's the wrong way...

Keselowski’s comments triggered a brief war of words with Toyota Racing Group Vice President/Technical Director Andy Graves, who responded, “You’re right. You should keep your mouth shut.”

Keselowski was not deterred, however, and spoke out again last weekend at Dover, criticizing those who view Busch’s tempestuous personality as a reflection of his determination on the race track.

"When the media comes out and says that's a reflection of him having the most desire to win, it makes me want to throw up," he said. "Not only is that a terrible message to send to anyone who's aspiring to be a part of the sport, it's a terrible message to send to anybody in general.”
GoFas Racing driver Matt DiBenedetto, also criticized Busch’s conduct, saying, “I would not choose to act that way. It is totally okay to be upset with losing. I mean, we’re competitors. (But) my role models are people like Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards (and) Mark Martin. I just choose to go about things their way. Those are the people I look up to. I would never act like Kyle Busch. It’s great for our sport and we need it, but that’s not how I would be.”
Not everyone sees an issue with Busch’s post-race snit, however.
"That s#it was funny. I was entertained.”
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. supported Busch last week, tweeting, “Don’t change Kyle Busch. The sport needs personalities. All of them. We all can’t be politically correct robots. If you don’t like him that’s perfectly fine, but that s#it was funny. I was entertained.”
Keselowski also said he strives to set a more positive example by conducting himself well, in both victory and defeat.
"When I look at teams and people in this sport, they all want to be associated with those who have the strongest hunger and desire and passion to be successful,” he said. “That's natural. That includes myself. (But Busch’s) message to convey -- whether it's through the media or through different mouthpieces -- is a terrible message that has serious effects; not only on our sport, but on our society.
“I don't think that's acceptable. Your desire to win can be expressed in a lot of other ways that are productive."
"(If) you want to show me desire and passion to win, it's when nobody is watching," Keselowski said. "That's what desire and passion is to win."
“Anybody that aspires to be great in this sport or (in) life, that’s what they should be looking at,” he said. “That’s the message we should be sending to kids and other people.”


  1. Anonymous12:49 PM

    "...argued that after 13 years as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, people should be willing to cut him some slack."

    How about that after 13 years as a full-time driver, he should quit acting like a baby. Losing sucks. It happens and, like Brad said, you try harder next time.

    as for "My son is two years old (and) I see where that came from." I'm not sure if he's admitting that he acts like a two-year-old or if he's saying that his two-year-old acts like him.

    BUT it's an old story. He's in the same boat as every other athlete. The more talent you have, the longer your leash is. Kyle has a ton of talent, and therefore a very long leash. He has more talent that Kurt, and we've all seen what Kurt's gotten away with while still driving a top-tier ride. And Tony Stewart before them both who "punched" (as it was called) a photographer after a 12th place finish at the Brickyard and the Pepsi 400 "black flag incident" from 2001 where he had to be restrained (as was reported) in the nascar hauler and slapped a tape recorder out of a reporter's hands.

    But the more talent you have, the longer the leash you have. So far Kyle's at least not assaulted anyone for asking him questions.

  2. Carol Jameson1:09 PM

    Not a fan of Brad's, however he makes a lot of sense. I believe Kyle is part of the trophy for all thinking. This behavior has gone on long before Cup and should've been squashed when he was young,.

  3. Anonymous2:15 PM

    Well, I guess it was a slow week in NASCAR. Yes, everybody loves to bash Busch. Yes he brings readers to the page. Has anyone done a decent article lately on how much his foundation means to so many people? Anyone even care what he does for the sport? No he's just an ungrateful 'loser'.

    I thought better of this page than to draw out this meaningless 'controversy'.

  4. Kyle Busch (and the rest of the MENCS drivers)are professional athletes and with that requires certain responsibilities such as media obligations. While I realize that these obligations can become monotonous, time consuming and required to answer the same question over and over again based on the media source it is still part of the requirements for this position and should be conducted in a professional manner. As a NASCAR fan, I am interested in the drivers perspective on their individual cars, how the race played out, affects of the changes that were made during the course of practice or a race. These are unique to each driver and something that I may not be able to gather from a TV/Radio broadcast or being at the race in person. Emotion is exciting, the characters of the sport I have enjoyed and will continue in the future, but the antics of Kyle Busch recent press conference simply are not acceptable of any athlete and left with me with zero insight to the race. The media was simply trying to do its job. While I am not a professional athlete, I do however work in a professional office where I am required to speak in the board room weekly to senior level executives about the status of my and my teams tasks. The meetings are uncomfortable, stressful and certainly not something I personally enjoy on a weekly basis, I still must maintain a professional demeanor. If I were to make a snide comment, drop the mic I am certain my time for this company would be over as that would not be tolerated. These are professional athletes, I want them to act like professionals during these obligations.