Home » NASCAR - Xfinity Series

Smashed Guitar Strikes Sour Chord In Music City

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, June 9 2009
Despite the smile, artist Sam Bass is not a happy man in this photo. (RacinToday photo by David Vaughn)

Despite the smile, artist Sam Bass is not a happy man in this photo. (RacinToday photo by David Vaughn)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer

video-bug-thumbNashville – Images of Kyle Busch’s guitar-smashing antics following last Saturday’s victory at Nashville Superspeedway have gone ‘round the world, creating a sensation on YouTube and other internet outlets.

Meanwhile on Monday, Nashville Superspeedway vice president/general manager Cliff Hawks said, “It’s still hard for me to watch.”

Renowned racing artist Sam Bass, who spent countless hours hand-painting the $2,000 Gibson guitar that for nine years has been the track’s trademark trophy, had this to say Sunday night on Nashville’s WSM radio: “I wonder how Kyle would like it if I took a hammer and smashed his race car?”

Bass said he was “totally shocked and stunned” as he watched Busch repeatedly dash the guitar to the pavement in Victory Lane.

“I was so shocked that I just stood there,” said Bass of the incident that has the racing world buzzing. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was heart-broken.”

Hawks shared his disbelief.

“When Kyle drew back the guitar like he was going to slam it down, the thought flashed through my mind: ‘No, surely he’s not going to do it!’ And then he did it. I stood there in total disbelief. It was very upsetting.”

Busch admitted it was a contrived incident. He had told his crew beforehand that if he won the race he was going to smash the guitar “rock-star style,” and divide the pieces among the team members.

The Federated Auto Parts race sponsors were not amused.

“They were really put off and I don’t blame them,” Hawks said. “It’s a big deal for the sponsor to make the Victory Lane presentations. It left a bad feeling.”

Hawks said the ugly incident should not tarnish the track in any way.

“We had absolutely nothing to do with it – I was as shocked and disappointed as everybody else,” he said. “This is all on Kyle.”

Hawks said Busch has not apologized to him or the track for the incident.

Bass said he was given a lame apology and later posed for a photo with Busch and what was left of the shattered instrument. But while Bass smiled for the photo, he was seething inside.

“Let’s just say I wasn’t happy,” Bass said.

“Kyle told me he meant no disrespect,” Bass said, “and I guess I have to take him at his word. I guess he didn’t realize how bad it looked and how upset everybody would be.”

Busch said he would buy two guitars to replace the one he destroyed and even joked about how Bass would make more money by painting more guitars.

“I don’t think he gets it,” Bass said. “He destroyed something that can’t be replaced. He can buy a replica but he can’t replace the original.”

It was noted that if Busch won the Daytona 500 or any other big-league Sprint Cup race he wouldn’t dare dash the trophy to bits in a “rock star” celebration – yet he showed no qualms in destroying a trophy in the second-tier Nationwide Series.

So far NASCAR has not commented on the incident that has added to Busch’s bad-boy reputation.

Bass said the incident will have no adverse effect on his long-standing relationship with the Superspeedway and that he will continue to paint the track’s trophy guitars – named by Sports Illustrated as one of sport’s most unique trophies.

“It wasn’t anybody’s fault except Kyle’s,” Bass said. “He’s the only one who has anything to apologize for.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, June 9 2009


  • Marybeth says:

    Was KB tested for drugs after his Sat. behavior, from getting off his helicopter to his smashing the trophy…? Marybeth

  • D Jones says:

    How many of the 50 trophies has KyB cut up to share with his teams? And why are some justifying his behavior? Joe & JD Gibbs etal must be so proud.

  • Matt says:

    Im sorry Sam, does the car that you say you would “smash” belong to you? Did someone give it to you? If so you may have a case. That guitar is not yours, he wasnt borrowing it….he won it. All of you people are obsessed with finding some reason to bash Kyle Busch. Are you really comparing a guitar from a win in the nationwide series to the Harley J. Earl trophy or the Stanley Cup. Well shoot, I guess that means you should compare the Poinsettia Bowl win of TCU to Floridas national championship. You people are ridiculous, get over yourselves, get over Kyle Busch, or get the hell out. Im sick of all of these drivers being drones for the sponsors, finally some life in stock car racing. Without Kyle Busch bringing in all this media attention, how much lower do you think ratings would be. Get a life. GO ROWDY!! #18

    • crabber1967 says:

      Please quit trying to make this child look like he is ‘mis-understood.’

      From now on, Nashville should have two guitars available.

      ONE the Sam Bass original artwork for the winner [except KyB]

      TWO: a toy guitar for KyB so that he may smash it if he wants, like the spoiled child he is.

      …the second [toy] guitar could have ‘artful’ stickers on it as artwork.
      Heck, the track could find a new “revenue stream” with this toy for sale to the public.

  • Bud says:

    Kyle Busch is not to blame for his actions. His parents are for raising him up to be an idiot. They must have had some parenting scheme that went terribly wrong.
    He should have never been turned aloose on society.

  • Bud says:

    It`s not the 2 Busch boys fault that they act like they do.
    It is their parents fault.
    They tried some kind of raising experiement on the boys that went terribly wrong.
    Their mother taught them that nothing is their fault.
    The parents should be blamed for turning these 2 idiots loose on society.

  • Dave says:

    No class. He could have given to a kid, not destroy a piece of art.

  • David says:

    “You Can’t Fix Stupid!”

  • Big 18Fan says:

    That was AWESOME, A RACER WITH PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER.Finally someone who can drive and doesn’t buy into the whole PC crap we are fed everyday by everybody GO KYLE GO

    • Fred says:

      Kyle is a piece of crap….get out of the Nwide series and let the regulars have a chance…hes way OVERRATED.

      • Matt says:

        Way overrated? before we go down that road, you had damn well better not be a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan…..before we talk about overrated, the guy who has the most wins in all three series.

  • WRB says:

    So the “Little Prick would like to order 2 more. If I was Sam Bass I would tell him to go straight to hell.

    • Fred says:

      Hell Yeah…agree completely!!!

      • Matt says:

        Maybe Sam Bass should tell him to go to hell. I will tell you one thing, i would thank Kyle Busch. I didnt know who the hell Sam Bass was before this incident, it will probably bring him business.

        • Jamie says:

          Really? You cannot even call yourself a NASCAR fan if you say you have never heard of Sam Bass! And, trust me, the man does not need ‘business’. I can’t believe some people!
          Must have been raised with the same eductaion and respect that crybaby Kyle was!

  • […] Racin’ Today: Smashed Guitar Strikes Sour Chord In Music City Yeah, all those quotes about Sam Bass being okay with Kyle Busch smashing his guitar? Yeah, not as much as the press-release-prepared quotes from Saturday. Also unhappy: Nashville Superspeedway and race sponsor Federated Auto Parts. (Not to mention Jimmy Spencer and Kyle Petty who both kind of tore him a new one during prerace shows at Pocono.) It’s also worth mentioning that Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing haven’t said a single word about it in their releases, which screams, “we’re hoping this goes away quietly.” […]

  • afuel says:

    Kyle Busch showed absolutley NO class acting out like some twisted spoiled brat. How disrespectful to the sponsors, Sam Bass personally and the fans. This kind of idiocy is not what NASCAR is about. Acting like a rock star, what a loser.

    Someone else mentioned how Joe Gibbs let’s this go on. I’d like to know how his Toyotas have what appears to be 25+ more HP than anyone else including the other Toyotas????

    Grow Up Kyle this act is way past old…..

  • Steve R says:

    Why is this a suprise to anyone who has watched NASCAR the past 2years.This is his image and NASCAR seems to be very proud of it.I for one do not give a **** if he ever wins another race or Joe Gibbs either.Joes comes out an says a prayer mr.Christian and then lets this go on with his race team. I just love a hyprocrite.If it pays it plays.If NASCAR had a set they would slow this down now. Carl Long gets a 12 race suspension plus a 200,000 fine for an engine that had blown up and was .17 hundreths two big.Guess Carl’s lack of sponsorship had a little to do with that.I used to love this sport but it is getting boring to watch races where they try to place to get points instead of win.How about 100 extra ppints for a win.That would pick up the action.If it were not for some friends I have with the teams and ESPN I would stick to the IRL and Formula 1.As much as I hate to admit it Formula 1 is true racing.Build it,bring it and race it.Best car wins so spend a wad and build good one.NASCAR should remove the Ford,Chevrolet,Dodge and Toyota and call the NASCARS just like INDY Cars.They are all the same.

  • Carol says:

    When Brad Kaselowski won last year, I hear that he fell asleep on the plane ride home, cradling his guitar trophy. That is the respect a work of art created by the Gibson people and the 100s of hours of work by Sam Bass.

    Kyle has enough money to buy each of his crew members a guitar instead of ruining that singular work of art. He says he will give each of his crew members a signed piece of the broken guitar. Gee, they get a piece of junk with his autograph; just what they always wanted.

  • Michael says:

    Ok, so he smashed a guitar, he said over his radio as he crossed the finish line that that everyone was gonna get a piece of the trophy,so what, its a piece of wood… what blows my mind is that nobody seemed to care about the racist comments coming from brendan guaghn’s mouth after the race, and his car owner not saying a word about it. Thats what we should be upset about, not a guitar

    • jason says:

      That guitar is a trophy that every single driver out there whould give anything to have… so what he did was disrespectful of every driver out there, to gibson, Sam Bass, and feel that he was showing how stupid he is and what a dork he is just once again and it’s getting REALLY old!!

  • JustMe says:

    If you really want to put the pressure on Kyle/JGR you will need to contact the sponsors.

    NOS Energy drink is made by the Coca Cola company. The trademark is owned by Holley (the carb people).

    Conctact those two and tell them Kyle acting like an 8 year old doesn’t really make you want to buy their product.

  • T says:

    Kyle is a disgrace for a human being. Unfortunately there are people within nascar that believe since he is winning races and getting peoples’ attention it is alright for him to continue to disrespect his fellow competitors, team members, sponsors, track owners and artists. What is it going to take for kyle to wake up and become a better person. Will it be killing someone during a race due to aggressive driving or someone taking matters in to their own hands and seriously injuring kyle. It is a shame that kyle doesn’t use kurt as an example. If kurt can change then maybe there is hope for kyle, but after witnessing kyle’s behaviour on saturday night i highly doubt it. kyle needs to remember that karma is aweful and will get revenge sooner or later. I’m not a very religious person, but even i fear god and know that in the end he is everyone’s final judge, jury and executioner. Kyle needs to think about the long term consequences of his horrible actions.

  • JustMe says:

    It’s a slap in the face to everyone at the track, the track owners, and the people of the area. They pick out a custom made trophy that represents a local flavor. Then the winner takes that trophy and smashes it to pieces. How could people not be offended.

    I see no difference than if someone smashed the Borg Warner trophy, the Stanley cup etc…

    Even if Sam Bass was not offended there are more people at play here. People of the area pay money to see the race and that money pays for the track to design and build a trophy.

    In essense as a fan you pay to build the trophy and it’s awarded to whoever comes to your track/town and is the best on that day. The trophy is a reward for being the best at “our” track.

  • […] Originally Posted by Bassdogs What was the deal with the guitar smashing act? Guess he sees himself as a rock star. I don’t like the guy, haven’t been a fan from the get go, and have been pretty clear in previous comments about that. BUT this latest BS after the Nashville race was over the top. Some guy spent a lot of time painting that guitar trophy and his action was bush [no pun intended] league, disrespectful and shows his total lack of maturity. Too bad driving talent doesn’t necessarily give you manners. The worst part about it was his comments afterwards. They were typical of today’s spoiled brats, who think they can tear anything up, and writing a check will make it right. On top of that, he flat out lied yesterday about his talk with Sam Bass, Gibson, and the track president, when he said they were all ok with it… Meanwhile on Monday, Nashville Superspeedway vice president/general manager Cliff Hawks said,

  • marc says:

    “It was noted that if Busch won the Daytona 500 or any other big-league Sprint Cup race he wouldn’t dare dash the trophy to bits in a “rock star” celebration – yet he showed no qualms in destroying a trophy in the second-tier Nationwide Series.”

    Well that quote says it all doesn’t it, if “says it all” means making a disingenuous comparison.

    Or perhaps I’ve missed how a Daytona 500 trophy is connected in any way to “rock star” celebrations.

  • Kathy says:

    Dear Larry,
    I didn’t get to see the smashing of the guitar until Sunday on Nascar Raceday. Even the announcers thought it was an insult to Sam Bass. Kyle has enough money that he could of bought his crew members their own replica guitar . Now that would of been something to give him kudos for.If Sam would decide to not do a guitar ever again for the race, I wouldn’t blame him.I think he is an Idiot!! I am hoping he has lost a lot of respect from any fans he may still have.