OPINION: Kyle Busch’s insults unjustified

Screen capture for CBS 8 Las Vegas

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

An idea floated on FOX’s Race Hub show last week by Jamie McMurray of, “who cares if (Kyle Busch) messes up his post-race interviews every once in a while” is nothing more than one driver giving another driver an excuse for being a jerk.

And Busch doesn’t really need an excuse for that as he is a repeat offender. The problem is that it’s hard to stay mad at Busch because even though he lashes out media, excoriates other drivers on their ability or roasts haters on Twitter. Why? Because he also has a softer side and he’ll then go out and pose with little KyBu fans, take selfies and sign autographs when it’s completely unexpected.

Last week at Las Vegas, Busch was upset following the race because he got into Garrett Smithley in the closing laps of the race. It wasn’t Smithley’s fault but that didn’t stop Busch from insulting the up-and-coming driver trying to scrap his way through the lower ranks and into a full-time ride in the Cup Series.

Busch was the regular-season champion and, as such, amassed a significant cushion of bonus points to help him overcome any early adversity in Round 1 of NASCAR’s playoffs. His thoughts on that cushion coming off a disappointing finish at Las Vegas are part of the story and not “the dumbest f**king questions” as he explained to NBC Sports – an answer he avoided when asked by media members without the ability to show his behavior live to the entire world. Those media members got “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” and other quippy remarks.

“We’re at the top echelon of motorsports, and we’ve got guys who have never won Late Model races running on the racetrack,” Busch said to NBC Sports. “It’s pathetic. They don’t know where to go. What else do you do?”

What Busch could have done was not get into the wall early in the race – an incident he admitted was his own mistake during media interviews Friday at Richmond Raceway. That would have kept him from having to push so hard to make up spots and race through the field.

“The first run in Vegas is always looser and I guess I just didn’t mentally prepare myself for that enough and we were 10 numbers loose, like crashing loose and I got myself in trouble, got myself in the fence,” he said.

In Busch’s own words, he is “at the top echelon of motorsports” so why did he make a mistake early in Las Vegas? More importantly, why did he run into the back of Smithley when he could have taken a different line as two other racecars did in getting around the slower No. 52 car? Smithley never budged on his line at Las Vegas. And despite the contact, Busch still

Again, he held his line. One would think that Busch, being in better equipment with dozens of wins and a Cup Series championship under his belt could have avoided Smithley. But others think it was intentional, or maybe subconsciously intentional so he could prove a point about having to race against what he considers to be inferior competition.

It’s also worth pointing out that every car on the track, including the No. 18 has a brake pedal.

Busch said this week at Richmond Raceway that he received “multiple texts from other people that are race car drivers and non-race car drivers this week that have said what I said is not wrong.” It would be nice to see those texts because even his own teammate, Denny Hamlin, put the blame on Busch.

“No, I find it tough to really put any blame on the 52 (Garrett Smithley),” Hamlin said at Richmond Raceway. “I think he held his line and he didn’t switch lanes. Now I didn’t see the previous corners or anything like that. I don’t know if he ran a different lane than what he had run in the previous laps, but as cars are passing you, I can relate basically like at Darlington. I had a damaged car, so I was a second off the pace. It’s a tough job to stay out of the way. I literally had to run the apron in the dirt just to make sure because everyone runs a different line. There’s no way their spotter or the driver can keep up with where everyone is running that’s coming up behind you. You just try to stay in that one particular lane and hope everyone – it’s really the spotter’s responsibility of the fast car to tell you where he’s been running. As long as you know where he’s been running, you can adapt and get around him usually without any problem. Like I said, I didn’t see any lane change or anything in that particular corner, but I don’t know about the laps before. He had someone below him, but I didn’t really see any fault from anyone. I think Kyle (Busch) just drove in there and guessed wrong on where he was going to be and ran into the back of him.”

The verbal shots taken at Smithley and his reaction to the media asking questions were uncalled for but, again, it’s typical Kyle Busch. If things aren’t going perfect for him, he doesn’t handle it well. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter – upset or not, perfect or flawed – it doesn’t take any more effort to be civil to people than it does to show them respect and be a professional.

6 Comments

  1. Rocky Estes

    September 22, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Being in the upper level of racing you would think he would not act like a 2 year old be a man like the rest of his peers

    • Becky Kocher

      September 23, 2019 at 5:59 am

      I been in dirt racing since u hauled ur car towing it!! An now my son races sprints does bush want to be the only one on the track!! There’s no fans now in the stands wake up an I the only one that sees that!! I my day in the dirt we were family everybody!! Bush start helping young kids racing street stocks with no money there nice people maybe u need a lesson

  2. Dale Cooper

    September 22, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Let’s put the blame where the blame belongs. NASCAR is at fault. There is no excuse for cars so far behind to still be making laps on the track. Any car over 5 laps down should be recognized as a non factor and parked. On tracks 1 mile or larger all cars wishing to compete should be within 4 laps of the leader at the end of stage 1. Any cars not able to maintain a position within 4 laps of the leader should be black flagged and sent to the garage. For stage 2 the maximum distance for any competing vehicle to be behind the leader of the race should not be more than 5 laps or that car should be black flagged and parked. Any cars 4 laps down or more to the leader at the end of stage 2 should be parked and not allowed to continue for the start of stage 3. If any car still competing after the start of stage 3 falls to more than 4 laps down to the leader of the race during the final stage they should be black flagged and parked at that point. For tracks less than 1 mile in length use the same format as described above but substitute 8 laps where it says 5 laps and 6 laps where it says 4. I hope NASCAR will do this to improve the integrity and safety of the show. Or at least something similar. Permanent and perpetual backmarkers have nothing positive to add to any event. They can only add unnecessary problems

    • Chris Steckroth

      September 22, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      @Dale Cooper and if Kyle is 5 laps down he will cry about the rule and the package. Sponsors pay a ton of money to have their name on the track, whether on a slow wrecked car or on a fast winning car. You can’t pull sponsor dollars off the track because they’re a few laps down. Busch needs to recognize that every car that started the race has a right to be there if they are maintaining minimum speed. If an elite driver can’t avoid obstacle cars and expects everyone to simply get out of his way, that’s not racing, plain and simple. That’s time trials with other cars on the track.

  3. BRANDON HALL

    September 22, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    This is a great idea. I agree. It will I believe allow the faster drivers that day really compete amongst theirselves with out any interference and or get wrecked out.

  4. Douglas Nowell

    October 14, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    If you look at the stands at most nascar races almost empty,yes it’s nascars fault. Goodbluber tires that won’t even go ten laps on some tracks,restrictor plates what a joke! Big crybaby Busch the guy is a jerk. As a fan lm done, the big shots can stuff it. They better go back and look at how it all started, the rules are all b.s. now

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