Busch Not A ‘Sorry Sap’ Nor A Smashing Success In Nashville
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
Gladeville, Tenn. – It was surely the weirdest “victory celebration” in NASCAR history.
Kyle Busch dashed to pieces the $2,000 hand-painted Gibson guitar that for nine years has been Nashville Superspeedway’s trademark trophy following his win Saturday night.
Busch said he wanted to celebrate “rock-star style” and had told his team beforehand that if he won, he planned to smash the guitar.
He said everybody does it “except race drivers. Those sorry saps take it home in one piece. I’ll break it up and share it with the team.”
Renowned racing artist Sam Bass, who devoted many hours to painting Music City themes on the expensive guitar, watched in disbelief as Busch repeatedly dashed the instrument to the pavement in Victory Lane.
Bass said he was “stunned” but later forced a smile as he posed with Busch and the shattered guitar. Bass said Busch told him he meant no disrespect to him, the track, the sponsors or the city of Nashville.
Whatever his intentions, the incident looked bad on national TV and especially to the crowd of mostly Nashville-area fans. The boos that had already been raining down on Busch reached a crescendo after his guitar-smashing antics.
Busch seemed undaunted by the booing which began as soon as he climbed from his car and made his trademark “victory bow” on the front-stretch.
The incident added to the young driver’s growing reputation as the Bad Boy of NASCAR.
“It’s been a hard couple of weeks,” said Busch after venting frustrations that had built during a recent sour stretch; strong runs had been spoiled by late-race bad luck in five of his last six Nationwide Series races.
Busch, who finished second to Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano in April’s first of two Nationwide Nashville stops, this time would not be denied. He started on the pole and dominated the Federated Auto Parts 300, coasting home well ahead of second-place Brad Keselowski.
Carl Edwards, the only full-time Sprint Cup driver in the race besides Busch, finished third. Busch and Edwards remain 1-2 in the Nationwide standings.
“Kyle’s car was too strong,” Edwards said. “But this was still a good night for us. My team needed a good race and a good finish.”
“Carl’s still right there,” Busch said of the title chase. “He’s in the hunt.”
Both Busch and Edwards departed after the race for Pocono, Pa., for Sunday’s Sprint Cup feature.
With only two Cup regulars in the lineup, several top Nationwide-only drivers had viewed the race as a chance to score a rare victory. Among those was veteran Jason Keller, who drives for Nashville-based Baker Curb Racing, but his hopes fizzled in a mid-race crash.
“It’s a bummer,” said Keller who finished 26th and instead of making a move in the standings dropped one spot to 7th. “This is my team’s home track and I felt we could complete for our first top-five finish of the year.”