Woody: Kyle Pulled A Kyle After Texas Race
Larry Woody | Senior Writer
When Kyle Busch narrowly missed making the make the Chase for the Championship at Richmond back in September I though he showed a lot of class with the way he handed his defeat and disappointment in the harsh glare of the TV lights.
That low point of his season might have been the high point of his career in terms of his image.
As I wrote at the time, maybe the petulant, guitar-smashing Bratboy of NASCAR had finally grown up.
Last Sunday at Texas Kyle regressed.
After running out of gas with two laps to go he climbed from his car and sulked away. He dodged the media, leaving new crew chief Dave Rogers to handle the unpleasant duties.
Busch’s loss was a significant story because he had been on the cusp of history.
He had won the Friday truck race and the Saturday Nationwide race and no driver had ever swept all three races in all three series in the same weekend.
A Busch Cup victory would have been a major story. The fact that he came so close – he had dominated the race by leading 232 laps – was a big story.
What if Jimmie Johnson should lose the championship week after next at Homestead-Miami, climb from car, and disappear without a word to anyone?
Sure, Busch was disappointed. Understandably. Who wouldn’t be? But he still had an obligation to step up and discuss the situation.
Busch didn’t duck and run after this truck and Nationwide victories. He hammed it up with his trademark exaggerated stage bows and fingers thrust aloft to signal his number of wins.
Busch is like a lot of today’s sports stars and celebrities: they love the attention when it’s convenient but want to be left alone when it’s not. They want to be able to turn it on and off like a water spigot, according to their mood and whim.
One of the qualities that made Richard Petty so endearing was his grace in defeat. (As Richard says, he lost a whole lot more races than he won.). Yet even when he suffered a tough loss Petty was the same as when he won. He was accessible to the media – which he realized was his conduct to the fans – and was never critical of his team or anyone around him.
Petty always stood as tall in defeat as in victory.
You can tell more about a person by how they handle losing than by how they handle wining. It’s easy to be pleasant and cooperative when things are going well. It’s not so easy when things turn sour.
Petty won with class and lost with dignity. He understood his responsibilities to the sport and the fans. He knew that the media had a job to do, and that the fans were interested in what he had to say, win or lose.
Kyle needs to take some cues from the King.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments