For the first time in a while, NASCAR has a villain in its races. Before, there was Darrell Waltrip or Dale Earnhardt, both of whom later became extremely popular. Once Earnhardt switched from villain to hero, there was a void left.
Kyle Busch has filled that void.
Whether it is his attitude, driving style, or a combination of things, Busch has become the most hated driver NASCAR has had in the last 20 years.
Fans have known about the younger Busch brother for nearly ten years, when he first began racing in the Camping World Truck Series. This was before NASCAR implemented a rule requiring drivers in the three major series to be 18 years old.
After a hiatus from NASCAR for being too young, Busch returned and quickly began winning races. He and Martin Truex Jr. were locked into a yearlong battle for the Nationwide Series title in 2004, and though Truex won the championship, Busch had arrived.
Since 2005, Busch has been in the Sprint Cup Series, and at first, he came across as someone who was simply a whiner when something went wrong. Many people, including Darrell Waltrip, thought that once he was older and more mature, he would stop whining, and would become a great ambassador to the sport.
For about a half-season this seemed to be the case, as he seemed to whine less and accept the hand he was dealt. As quickly as this trend started, it disappeared, and since then, Kyle Busch has had perhaps the worst personality in NASCAR history. His lack of maturity is now combined with an arrogance that has come from his success.
There is no doubt in my mind that Busch holds a grudge against Rick Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. because Busch was essentially dumped to make room for the series’ most popular driver.
Busch has said in interviews that he holds no ill will towards Dale Jr., but it seems fairly obvious based on comments made at Dover that he doesn’t think too much of him.
The Gibbs driver said that it’s never Junior’s fault, and that when he doesn’t get the results they want, it was always the crew chief’s fault, inferring that Dale Jr. was not a very good driver.
Since signing with Gibbs, Busch has seemed to have a vendetta against the Hendrick team. It was around this time that his attitude took a turn for the worse, and he became the personality he is today.
What annoys people most is the fact that he simply treats people like they are below him. In interviews, he often gives smart-alec comments, leaving the pit reporter speechless.
In recent weeks, Busch has finished second in many races. When interviewed after these races, Busch speaks with a tone of voice that would lead you to think someone had wronged him, or that he was entitled to win the race.
Here’s an idea, Kyle: stop blaming everyone else out there, and admit that each race in this streak, the winning car was better than you were.
Compare his attitude about finishing second to that of Tony Stewart, who finished second at Sonoma. Busch was almost insulted that he, the great Kyle Busch, would be relegated to second place, while some unworthy punk celebrated and took his trophy home.
On the other hand, Stewart admitted being anxious about his chances once Kasey Kahne passed him, and conceded that Kahne drove "a perfect race", leaving him with no chance. Busch will never say such a thing.
Why is Kyle Busch such a bad person? The answer is surely too complex to have a single explanation, but it seems to me that his parents may be to blame.
There are accounts of Kurt Busch, Kyle’s older brother, being just about as snobby to people. The only major difference is that Kurt has learned when to shut his mouth so he is not perceived as a villain like his brother is.
When media is around, Kurt tries to act nice, and instead of coming off like the snob he is, he simply comes off as a square, nerd, or someone who was stuffed into a high school locker while walking to French class.
Kyle combines his rotten personality with his incredible lack of maturity, and comes off as an arrogant clown who takes everything for granted. Knowing this, and knowing his brother’s true character, I place blame on his parents.
When two children in the same house acquire the same bad traits, it’s fairly likely that the kids learned that trait from their main environment, around their parents.
Of course, I have no way to prove this, but it is a conjecture of mine that I have a pretty good gut feeling about.
Nothing says "NASCAR’s villain" like a pasty-white, scrawny punk wearing oversized sunglasses. Kyle Busch will never stop being the villain because he is the one in the spotlight, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.