Race Weekend Central

2-Headed Monster: Kyle Busch Unloads After Dover, Crass Remarks or Constructive Criticism?

Kyle Busch had some choice words upon existing the car at Dover International Speedway following the Gander RV 400 this Monday (May 6).

On Friday, Busch also said that the cars were going way too fast in the corners, and that is what usually leads to uncompetitive racing. Busch noted some safety concerns as well, given this track’s history of delivering some hard hits if right-side tires go down and the blocked track that can result in a wreck on a restart. These kind of comments aren’t exactly new territory for Busch, but is this type of callout post race welcome candor from a competitor or just un-constructive criticism during what is a pivotal year for NASCAR as a whole?

Frontstretch’s Clayton Caldwell and Vito Pugliese debate.


Don’t Disrespect Kyle Busch’s Personality or Knowledge

Busch has received a lot of flack about what he said from fans, media members and NASCAR. Sure, some of it might have been Busch blowing off steam. He is known to be very frustrated when he loses. However, Busch has been critical of this package from the very beginning, even though he has three victories this season with the new package.

Remember back in 2007 when the Car of Tomorrow (COT) was introduced? The first race that particular chassis ran, Busch went to victory lane. On national television, Busch stated that he wasn’t a big fan of the car, that he hated driving it and said it “sucked.”

Looking back on that statement 12 years ago, I think most people would agree with Busch’s assessment of the COT. It wasn’t a very good car. It wasn’t a package that was ideal for the fans, and after six full seasons of the COT, it was replaced by what we now know as the Generation 6 (Gen6) car. Maybe the drivers and teams know more than the fans do at this point.

Busch was correct 12 years ago, why wouldn’t he be correct today?

As we go deeper into the schedule with the current rules package, the racing will change. Teams will find even more downforce to put on the race cars, and the second half of the season may feature a completely different look than the first half of the season.

If you talk to most people about what they thought of the Dover race, they’ll say the first two stages were good and the final stage was boring. Maybe that is a by-product of what we’re going to see in the future — that as we run along, this product will get worse and worse. Is it possible Busch saw that?

Busch is one of the few drivers left in NASCAR who actually has a personality. Most people hate him for it, and while I don’t always agree with what he does, I respect him because he is himself. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and loves to win. The last thing I would want to do is watch Busch sink into the same mode we’ve seen other drivers do and not give his opinion on something. It’s refreshing to watch drivers speak their minds.

At the end of the day, Busch should be able to speak his mind freely. It’s up to NASCAR and the fans to make up their minds with this package. What Busch says really shouldn’t sway the fans or NASCAR if they really believe in this package. However, I doubt this is the last time we hear about this package being terrible. I think most fans, drivers and, yes, even media members, agree with Busch’s assessment. They just don’t have the guts to come out and say it like Busch does. -Clayton Caldwell

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

For a little over a decade, most drivers remain silent and simply go along to get along. Even when they speak out mildly — as Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin have — they end up on the receiving end of secret, undisclosed fines. And that was just a few short years ago. Even Tony Stewart, who was quick to call out Goodyear or suggest Figure Eight racing instead of restrictor plates, has softened his tone in recent years.

There was a time when drivers would speak out about something and they were chastised for it — though it was done in private, not public. There are stories of a driver on the receiving end of a Bill France, Jr.-reminder of, “NASCAR was here before you, it’ll be here long after you’re gone…,” after a come to William meeting if France deemed the criticism less than constructive.

We are at a different time in the sport now, however, where the “it’ll be here long after you’re gone” piece might be countered with, “Ehhhh, I don’t know about that.” So it’s understandable why such comments might be met with some pushback.

In this instance, however, context is important.

It’s the mic in the driver’s face the moment after 400 laps of frustrating passing despite a car being superior to the one in front of it. It’s also supported when other drivers and owners chime in saying the same thing — almost as an “I told you so” rebuttal to what is then defended breathlessly on any NASCAR-sponsored outlet. One well-known voice was quick to pass it off because Busch didn’t win. This has now morphed into, “If passing isn’t hard, why should we care when you do it?”

I might be in the minority, but taking that stance isn’t exactly the hill I’d want to die on.

This is the kind of obtuse reasoning that found the sport meandering from 2008 to this point, one of the most pivotal years in its history. The package that was deemed to be the answer to all ills hasn’t quite delivered the last few races — outside of Talladega Superspeedway, which was one of the better superspeedway races we’ve seen in the last three years (cars need to go 200 miles per hour and have throttle response).

Early this season, there was some cautious optimism as things appeared to be improving, but that may have been simply due to unfamiliarity with the package. Dover proved one unavoidable truth – faster and sustained corner speeds don’t make for better racing.

I remember back in 2000, after the Daytona 500, the package used that year provided less than spectacular racing. It took five of the fastest Fords in the series, four of them now Hall of Famers, to line up and coordinate an overtaking of a lone, essentially-unsponsored Pontiac on only two fresh tires vs. their four to make a finish out of it. Afterward, Dale Earnhardt Sr. told a group of reporters, “That’s the worst racing I’ve seen at Daytona in a long, long time,” and as he walked away, “Mr. Bill France Sr. probably roll over in his grave if he seen that deal.”

What ultimately resulted later that year at Talladega was one of the greatest restrictor plate/superspeedway races ever and Earnhardt’s final career victory. Given the number of memes I routinely see go around claiming that Busch is today’s Intimidator, his comments were simply the evolution of Earnhardt’s Daytona observations — if a bit more colorful. -Vito Pugliese

About the author

Vito is one of the longest-tenured writers at Frontstretch, joining the staff in 2007. With his column Voice of Vito (monthly, Fridays) he’s a contributor to several other outlets, including Athlon Sports and Popular Speed in addition to making radio appearances. He forever has a soft-spot in his heart for old Mopars and presumably oil-soaked cardboard in his garage.

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Kyle Busch has neither the class or the respect to be compared to Earnhardt. Either of them.


Your hate clouds your mind.

Bill B

…and your blind, fanboy devotion and love for Kyle blinds yours.


Maybe in some cases but:
What driver would do anything to win?
What driver would say whats on his mind, no matter what the public opinion thought?
What driver can drive anything the sit in and win?
What driver has been boo’d while driving to victory lane? <- incase you dont remember the answer the that one can also be either Dale (bristol 99) or Kyle (Chicagoland 18)

– You see you can make excellent comparisons between the two, its just the love for one and the hatrid of the other that makes them incomparable.

Bill B

What driver would do anything to win?
If you believe in sportsmanship and fair play “doing anything to win” is not a virtue if you cross the line. Especially when you’ve already won as much as Kyle. Thinking you are entitled to win every race is unrealistic at best and ego-maniacal at worst. He isn’t God’s gift to racing. I feel as a professional, when you step out on that field (or track) you have to accept the fact that you may lose. You don’t have to like it but you have to accept it. If you don’t then you come off as a selfish, immature, prick.


I really don’t see any of the up and comers moving someone for a win. Look at the backlash Joey got moving Martin last year? Equivalent to Dale in 99. You had the clean race vs the aggressive racer. Outside of Joey, Brad, Kevin, and Kyle, I dont see anyone else moving someone to get a win. They seem content with a second place finish. The frustrating part is Joey is the only one under 30 (barely). I am not sure entitled is the word I would use, but the best ones throughout the history of the sport expected to win every race and hated losing. I do agree with you, maybe not with the comments Kyle made after the race Monday, but in the past he has made some comments that flat out sound like an immature prick. But I don’t like players of any sport who come out and are happy with losing, maybe why Tom Brady is so polarizing with football fans….

Bill B

Nobody should be happy with losing but they should be able to give a professional interview 99% of the time after the event. Granted, if they were just wrecked (or moved) and lost the win on the last lap, I get that (the other 1% where it’s OK to be less than professional). I don’t like Tom Brady because I think he has Lance Armstrong syndrome (google: Why winners cheat and click on the Washington Post article that comes up and you will understand what I mean by that).


Very interesting read, guess maybe that is where Kyle gets his ” Thinking you are entitled to win” that you stated above. The interview part is tricky tho. These guys get out of that extremely hot race car, have been heated and cussing on the radio for about 2h then have to transform almost immediately into a professional interview setting, in a way that is a bit unfair imo. Now if the drivers were to do that when moved to the media center, that would be an entirely different circumstance.

Bill B

iceman, I think Kyle thinks he’s entitled period… LOL.
The article only applies to thinking you are entitled to win and then justifying cheating because of that entitlement. I am not accusing Kyle of that, although it’s probably the norm in NASCAR because there are million places to cheat up a car and even the guys that aren’t winning are probably doing stuff as well (it’s almost part of the culture). I did feel that way about Johnson and Knaus when they were caught on camera talking about “backing the car into the wall if you win” at Talladega several years ago. They had already won 4 or 5 championships. I felt they started developing the Lance Armstrong syndrome.

Fed Up

Kryle’s foul mouth and your pathetic attempt to cover it up pretty much speak for themselves. Pathetic journalism.
Let’s hear from others who can articulate opinions and those who can report them with class.


Another fan who appreciated the emotionless, OK with finishing second, won’t bump anyone for a win current drivers. Foul mouth? Its 2019 not 1960 bud, what exactly is a found word anymore?

Kyle is right, this package sucks. It works for a few cookie cutter tracks but the short track racing has sucked cause of it. So we trade for some decent racing at cookie cutter tracks while eliminating the racing at the smaller 1m or less tracks? Bristol, had to have lap traffic to have a lead change, Richmond – several got to the leaders back bumper but couldn’t pass them (fastest car didnt win again), Dover – again had to have lap traffic to pass for the lead. Won’t see a bump and run this year, if you dont understand why go back and watch Bristol and Martinsville where cars were getting hit hard in the bumpers and still wouldn’t come unglued from the track.

Is there more passing in the back of the pack? Sure. Wasn’t there always passing in the back of the pack? These cars still are too impacted by dirty vs clean air, sick of watching fast cars move through the field till they get to around the top 5 then all stall out. This package is not the answer, this generation of car has always sucked.

The article was a good one, this sport needs personality – too many snowflakes wandering around the garage. Just cause you dislike a driver for whatever reason, doesn’t make it right to point your hate at the journalist, its as your post states, classless and pathetic. Someone get this man a Puppers

Al Sorensen

Hey, shrub; Seems Truex, Bowman and a bunch others were able to overcome what you decried. You lost, deal with it and quit whining.

You could always go drive a taxi somewhere – nobody cares.


Benny Parsons drove a taxi in Detroit. Don’t put Kyle in the same class as taxi drivers.

Bill B

Where was that criticism after the three races he won? The thing with Busch is that he wins more than anyone else and yet still complains when he doesn’t. After a while it like the little boy that cried wolf and you shake your head and think it’s just sour grapes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of this new package either but the guy that’s won three races and has finished in the top ten in every race isn’t the one that should be whining. If anyone has a right it’s probably Hardick. He was winning and running up front for the last few years, now he isn’t. It could be the new package or he could be getting older but since the first year he has struggled and the only thing that’s changed is the car this year, he can legitimately complain about the new package.


Kyle has won in every single package NASCAR has thrown at the drivers. That is not something all drivers can say. You often see some drivers come and go with different packages due to driver driving styles, therefore, I can listen to what he has to say. I am happy to hear some drivers say what we all have been saying, this package was putting a band aid on the Gen 6 car. The racing has suffered since this gen 6 car hit the track. High downforce, low downforce, back to high downforce, it doesn’t matter, the car itself (chassis, design, aero) downright sucks.

Harvick is one of the best in the garage with working the pedals to manipulate the cars handling but with this package, most of that has been eliminated so he has lost a lot of that advantage. That is my opinion on why he has struggled to find victory lane this year. That and clean air is a massive advantage still so beating your competitors off pit road is only magnified and we all know Harvick’s crew hasn’t always been the fastest.

Bill B

Hey I can applaud anyone that doesn’t bend to NASCAR’s “toe the line and keep your mouth shut” mentality. I also think this new package sucks as did the last. I never said he wasn’t talented and has won in every iteration of car, I just think that they guy leading the points and with the most wins and top tens shouldn’t be the one complaining the loudest. If anything he should keep his mouth shut and enjoy being the only one that can consistently produce a top 10 in this car. He has an advantage on the rest of the field, he can make this sucky package work better than anyone else, so why is he whining?


Fair, it does look bad when the sports points leader and driver with the best avg finish on the year is outright bashing the product. I just hope they get the the Gen 7 car right!

Bill B

Re: “I just hope they get the the Gen 7 car right!”

If history is any indicator, I’d bet $1000 they don’t.


That my friend is my fear :(

They are already pushing the timeline, and engineering a new generation race car is something that can’t be rushed, yet they continue to do so.


Interesting because if he was back in the pack in points, people would say its just sour grapes. I give it more value if its from the points leader, since you know his complaining isn’t about his lack of success. And I’m far from a Kyle apologist, but was he or was he not right about the COT when he said it sucked????????


I think what makes the race fans happiest is when the series tilts toward the little guys. Talladega produced a finish whereby five of the top 11 finishers were so obscure, that these five may never see another top ten finish again this season. Short track season in theory should produce more of these underdog finishes, but they haven’t. And stage racing is just so fake – I know this is entertainment, but stage racing equates to WWE and all it’s “fake-ness”. Dover was boring simply because Dover always is. The top cars checked out and lapped the field continuously. That could happen at any track I suppose, but I’m still not in favor of the wave around – make drivers earn their finishing position.


I agree! Bring back double file restarts where the leader starts on the outside with lap cars on the inside! Let them race for their lap back and dump this stage racing and lucky dog crap. Maybe if NASCAR did help teams pay for the cars we could get some underdog success stories where they nail the setup and compete for a win outside of a super speedway race?


you can’t count the big former plate tracks. they’re always a crap shoot as to who will win cause of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. unknowns win these races cause they typically were in the back and didn’t manage to get caught up in “the big one”.

dover has always had an issue with boredom. it use to be a 500 mile race. i remember times when 3-5 car were on the lead lap at the end of the race. for years mark martin seemed to own the place.

kyle just cries. he thinks he should win every race. a driver worth his weight should think that going into each race. but kyle gets mad when reality slaps him in the face.

kyle has always complained and cried and he will continue to do so.

racing isn’t like it use to be. unless they make the cars in the shape of a box, nothing’s going to change.


it’s pretty hard to take a criticism of ” we can’t pass” seriously when the top two finishers literally passed everyone on the track during the race….


Laughing at the Kyle whiners responding on here. The man hates to lose, period. So what . At least someone has the balls to speak up. Not another driver out there that can drive anything like kyle can. Bill thinks Kyle shouldn’t speak up since he’s won three races. I think Bill shouldn’t whine on the keyboard so much about Kyle. Bet we neither one get out wish
Nascars secret fines are keeping drivers from speaking out. We all see what’s happening, why jump on Kyle for saying what we know. Crazy man.

Bill B

Fine by me if you want to defend Kyle and enable his bad behavior.
Unless someone calls him out he will never grow up.
Competitors should be able to handle losing, especially if they do it for a living.
Keep defending his bad behavior.
Year after year he complains more than any other driver.
Only his fans defend him because they can’t be objective.
Until can accept that he isn’t special, isn’t the only one that wants to win, he will always be an ass.


I also reject the fanboy justification that he wants to win, therefore his temper tantrums and nasty behavior are warranted!


The difference is some children when told no they cannot have a toy in the store, accept it. Kyle is the kid who throws himself on the ground and holds his breath till his mama buys him want he wants.

Nobody’s mama should enable that type of behavior, nor should “fans”.


Its funny how most of you complain on here that drivers are plain, vanilla, and don’t show any emotion, yet when they do, you climb all over them. And also every week, you complain about the car. So someone finally speaks up on the drivers side about it and you lambaste him. So which is it? Do you want vanilla, boring drivers that spout off sponsor names and telling you what you want to hear or do you want drivers with some personality. If you want the later, stop going off on the driver for having an opinion. We might actually get some personality back in the sport. As it is right now, its not worth it for the drivers to say anything and I personally don’t think its good for the sport at all.

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