NASCAR Could Use More ‘Bad’ Guys (Like Kyle Busch) – Forbes

BRISTOL, TN – AUGUST 19: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Caramel Toyota, celebrates after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19, 2017 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Even before Kyle Busch was handed a broom and playfully swept off the top of his racecar late Saturday night, polishing off a week in which he won all three races at Bristol Motor Speedway, I thought to myself (and maybe you did, too): NASCAR could use more bad guys!

Or more guys like Kyle Busch, anyway. After Busch won a 500-lap Monster Cup race, he did the obligatory burnouts and clambered out of his No. 18 racecar, took a checkered flag and theatrically bowed to all four corners of the racetrack. Much of the crowd booed him.

Busch, 32, drives a powerful car for the folksy Joe Gibbs, the former Washington Redskins coach, but Busch is perceived to be an outsider ― he is from Las Vegas ― who drives hard, bends the rules and is not exactly sportsmanlike.

Two weeks ago, during a race in Watkins Glen, N.Y., Busch and Brad Keselowski tangled, with Busch hollering to his crew over his radio: “Y’all better keep me away from that [expletive] after this race! I will kill that [expletive]!”

Later, Danica Patrick was knocked out of contention by Busch, who was right behind her at the time and looked as if he caused her to spin out. Patrick screamed into her radio: “[Expletive] 18 absolutely [expletive] took me out! [Expletive], [expletive], [expletive]! Now I know why people hate him!”

Now I know why people hate him might have been Patrick’s best contribution to the series this year. NASCAR is blending in a group of young drivers. With the exception of the colorful Ryan Blaney, they all kind of seem the same: gentlemanly, polite ― and bland.

Maybe it will just take time for the new guys to whip up rivalries. Maybe they think they have to be nice to each other to promote a sport that needs help. This is not pro wrestling, with designated good guys and bad guys. But it could use a little Tabasco, or sriracha.

Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death at the 2001 Daytona 500 was the biggest catalyst for interest in NASCAR. He was a seven-time series champion who drove his black No. 3 car to the edge, often knocking people out of his way. He wore a push-broom mustache and an evil grin.