DOB: May 2, 1985
There’s a good chance you’re reading this profile because you think Kyle Busch is the biggest ass-hat in Sprint Cup, and we’re not going to argue with you. We’re also not going to agree with you either because we’re supposed to be fair and unbiased when it comes to drivers. Even if the driver in question smashes his trophies in victory lane, we still have to maintain our cool, clinical detachment and just report the news… sort of.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. once said that he didn’t mind when the fans booed him, because it meant that he at least had their attention. Kyle Busch seems to understand this and goes to great lengths to make the fans hate him. Let’s list just a sampling of his offenses, shall we?
When it was announced that Dale Earnhardt’s crew chief would be replaced, Busch commented "It’s never Junior; it’s always the crew chief." implying that Tony Eury Jr. was a scapegoat for Earnhardt’s lackluster performance at Hendrick Motorsports.
Notice how everything centers on or revolves around Dale Earnhardt Jr.? One can reasonably assume that the epicenter of all this ill will is the dismissal of Busch from Hendrick Motorsports so that the organization could pick up Junior. The details concerning the driver swap vary depending on who you talk to, but Busch claims the separation was a surprise. His attitude towards Earnhardt would be much more understandable if he had landed with an under-funded, under-performing team, but he ended up with Joe Gibbs and proceeded to outperform Earnhardt by scoring eight wins in 2008.
It seems that once Busch latches onto something, he shakes it like a terrier with a rag doll until it ceases to amuse him. Although this behavior has made him the "most hated NASCAR driver," it has also made him one of the most wildly successful. Busch has 15 wins in less than four full seasons and 11 of those have come since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008. And that’s just in Sprint Cup. Since 2004 he has scored a staggering 25 wins in the Nationwide series and 11 in the Camping World Truck series. That’s 51 wins spread over just five years.
The kid can flat out drive. Period. He may drive like a pissed-off teenager in a 1986 Ford Ranger with an empty fifth of Wild Turkey on the floorboard, but it works for him right now. Not only does he drive like a road-raging adolescent, he often displays a teen’s surliness by storming away from the track without so much as a single word to anyone. The most well-known example of this is the 2007 Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway when Dale Earnhardt Jr offered to drive the #5 Hendricks car when Kyle was no where to be found.
What follows will sound like utter blasphemy to die-hard fans, but it needs to be said: Busch is the closest thing to the late Dale Earnhardt we’ve seen in a long time. That being said, it should also be noted that Dale Sr. was not anywhere near as mouthy as Busch. In fact, Dale Sr.’s reaction to most everything was a sardonic, self-satisfied smirk. Busch is more like Darrell Waltrip was in the 1970s, back when Richard Petty dubbed him "Jaws." Add in a healthy dose of Maurice Petty’s legendary temper and you’ve got Kyle Busch.
Speaking of nicknames, Busch has been called "Shrub", "Wild Thing" and "Rowdy". We’ve heard he prefers "Rowdy", but hates being called "Shrub". He’s even gone as far as having the name "Rowdy Busch" put on the #51 Toyota Tundra he drives in the Camping World truck series. If he’s going to name himself after fictional race car drivers, we think he should pick Russ Wheeler– or better yet, Aubrey James. Still, he shouldn’t be so touchy about "Shrub" because it could always be worse. His brother, fellow Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch, has been known as "Ears" and "Jimmy Spencer’s punching bag."
So there you have it – like him or hate him, he’s not going anywhere. The world needs villains just like it needs heroes, and very often its the villains that make a show worth watching.
Kyle Busch is often seen with this stunning specimen: