Kyle Busch's Polarizing Style Viewed As Good For NASCAR In Changing Driver Landscape
Driver Kyle Busch is "exactly what NASCAR needs, a driver willing to don the black who is not only unafraid to be booed, but actively encourages the venom," according to Jordan Bianchi of SB NATION. Busch is the sport's "most loathed" driver, and he is not "going to change." After winning Saturday's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch climbed "atop his No. 18 Toyota with a broom, where he proceeded to sweep the roof." Busch won the Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races at BMS for the weekend. After jumping down from his car, he "mocked those loudly booing him by placing his fingers in his ears to block out the jeers before waving three fingers in the air to signify how many races he had won." Busch being NASCAR’s No. 1 villain is not a "recent occurrence." It has "long been the case thanks to his dominance on the track accompanied with sometimes boorish behavior off it." Busch’s "superiority and unabashed willingness to voice his displeasure when things don’t go his way have ensured that many fans aren’t enamored" with the '15 Cup Series champion (SBNATION.com, 8/21). NBCSPORTS.com's Dustin Long wrote under the header, "Love Him Or Hate Him, Kyle Busch Is What NASCAR needs." Busch is "part superstar, part showman." Long: "The good guy to his fans, Busch also can be cast as the villain to the rest of the fanbase. He’s accepted that role, embraced it and learned how to egg on the haters in the stands and the trolls on social media" (NBCSPORTS.com, 8/21). FORBES.com's Dave Caldwell wrote, "NASCAR could use more bad guys! Or more guys like Kyle Busch, anyway." NASCAR is "blending in a group of young drivers" and with the "exception of the colorful Ryan Blaney, they all kind of seem the same: gentlemanly, polite -- and bland." Maybe they "think they have to be nice to each other to promote a sport that needs help" (FORBES.com, 8/21).
KEEPING QUIET: The AP's Jenna Fryer wrote under the header, "NASCAR Needs To Speak Up Amid U.S. Turmoil." The sport cannot "sit on the sidelines and simply watch." NASCAR "lost the luxury of staying above the fray two years ago" when Chair & CEO Brian France "said he didn't want Confederate flags at racetracks anymore." Fryer noted last year, France "openly endorsed" then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at a Georgia rally. On stage with him that day were "several active NASCAR drivers, and although France was later adamant his presidential endorsement was personal, it was too late to alter the optics that NASCAR leadership is aligned with Trump." France has "said nothing as his family business rolls into its final stretch of the summer." There were "dozens of Confederate flags flying at the campgrounds last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway." The Saturday night race was "in part sponsored by the National Rifle Association." Fryer: "So like it or not, NASCAR and its alliances do cross into the political arena. Because of that, and the waters France has already entered, the sanctioning body doesn't get a pass in a time of unrest" (AP, 8/21). The BOSTON GLOBE this week examined the "divide over" President Trump among NASCAR fans.