|"It's genetic. That's just who I am."|
Kyle Busch says people should learn to accept his sometimes surly post-race demeanor.
Not everyone in the NASCAR Garage agrees.
Busch drew criticism from some corners two weeks ago, after a terse post-race press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he gave a sullen, six-word answer about his runner-up finish to Austin Dillon in the Coca-Cola 600, before ending the session with an abrupt mic drop.
Busch attempted to explain his post-600 unhappiness last weekend at Dover International Speedway,, saying, “There were a lot of things on the line that meant a lot to me (and) would have been special to me. I guess I should care less about those things and not show that sort of emotion.”
Busch admitted that he is not the most gracious loser in the sport, but argued that after 13 years as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, people should be willing to cut him some slack.
“Different people show their emotions in different ways,”: said Busch. “And unfortunately for me, mine has never been very gracious. I don’t know that it ever will be. I’m learning that, as the days go on. My son is two years old (and) I see where that came from. It’s genetic. I’m sorry, that’s just who I am. That’s what I was given. If there’s anyone to blame, it’s probably the guy upstairs.
“I can probably get better and go to training and classes… but I don’t know," added the 2015 MENCS champion. "It is the way it is. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been blessed (and) to be in the opportunity that I’m in. I’ve got great partners and sponsors that are with me, and they’ve stuck with me through a lot worse than what happened this week.
“The people that are close to me understand me, know me and know who I am outside the race track as a person, as a friend. That’s why I’m able to continue to have the relationships and the sponsorships that I do.”
The Penske Racing driver called out Busch following his Coke 600 dust-up, saying via Twitter, "Maybe I should keep my mouth shut (but) I was by working harder next time, not by being disrespectful to others. Not sure how or when "hating losing" got defined in this manner, but I'm pretty sure it's the wrong way...”
Keselowski’s comments triggered a brief war of words with Toyota Racing Group Vice President/Technical Director Andy Graves, who responded, “You’re right. You should keep your mouth shut.”
Keselowski was not deterred, however, and spoke out again last weekend at Dover, criticizing those who view Busch’s tempestuous personality as a reflection of his determination on the race track.
"When the media comes out and says that's a reflection of him having the most desire to win, it makes me want to throw up," he said. "Not only is that a terrible message to send to anyone who's aspiring to be a part of the sport, it's a terrible message to send to anybody in general.”
GoFas Racing driver Matt DiBenedetto, also criticized Busch’s conduct, saying, “I would not choose to act that way. It is totally okay to be upset with losing. I mean, we’re competitors. (But) my role models are people like Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards (and) Mark Martin. I just choose to go about things their way. Those are the people I look up to. I would never act like Kyle Busch. It’s great for our sport and we need it, but that’s not how I would be.”
Not everyone sees an issue with Busch’s post-race snit, however.
|"That s#it was funny. I was entertained.”|
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. supported Busch last week, tweeting, “Don’t change Kyle Busch. The sport needs personalities. All of them. We all can’t be politically correct robots. If you don’t like him that’s perfectly fine, but that s#it was funny. I was entertained.”
Keselowski also said he strives to set a more positive example by conducting himself well, in both victory and defeat.
"When I look at teams and people in this sport, they all want to be associated with those who have the strongest hunger and desire and passion to be successful,” he said. “That's natural. That includes myself. (But Busch’s) message to convey -- whether it's through the media or through different mouthpieces -- is a terrible message that has serious effects; not only on our sport, but on our society.
“I don't think that's acceptable. Your desire to win can be expressed in a lot of other ways that are productive."
"(If) you want to show me desire and passion to win, it's when nobody is watching," Keselowski said. "That's what desire and passion is to win."
“Anybody that aspires to be great in this sport or (in) life, that’s what they should be looking at,” he said. “That’s the message we should be sending to kids and other people.”