Kyle Busch wins Nationwide Series race
GLADEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Kyle Busch punished the competition and a brand new Gibson Les Paul guitar trophy Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.
Busch capped his victory celebration after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race by grabbing the custom-painted guitar by the neck and slamming it three times into the Victory Lane concrete before tossing it aside.
The rock star antics originated last year when Busch told his team he would smash one of racing’s most coveted prizes if he ever won at Nashville.
To its credit, the guitar chipped but never shattered.
“It didn’t break according to plan,” Busch said. “We’ll go back to the shop and cut it up into smooth pieces so everyone on the team can have one. Then I’m going to order two more for me and (crew chief) Jason Ratcliff.
“Everybody’s (smashed a guitar) except race car drivers. Those sorry saps take it home in one piece. I’ll break it up and share it with the team.”
One onlooker who applauded the theatrics was Sam Bass, the artist who paints Nashville’s trophy guitars.
“I’ll be honest with you, I was stunned when it happened,” Bass said. “But when I went to Victory Lane to take a picture with Kyle, he said there was no disrespect to me, the speedway or the sponsors. He just said he was going to give each one of his guys a piece of the trophy. In the spirit of rock and roll and, as someone who appreciates rock and roll, he put on a show.”
That he did.
Busch raced to his fourth Nationwide Series victory of the year and ninth overall NASCAR win of the season, easily holding off Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards in the Federated Auto Parts 300.
The 24-year-old Busch also has three Sprint Cup victories and two Camping World Trucks wins this year, giving him 51 career victories in NASCAR’s top three series.
Keselowski, the race winner last year coming off a victory last week in Dover, was second – 0.891 seconds back. Edwards, a three-time Nashville Superspeedway winner, finished third on the 1.333-mile concrete oval.
Mike Bliss was fourth, followed by Jason Leffler.
Busch led 173 laps and avoided a series of wrecks early and midway through the 225-lap race. Busch’s crew serviced his Toyota in a 14.3 seconds during the final round of green-flag stops with 35 laps to go, and he was back in front by lap 202.
“It was a good day overall,” Busch said. “We had a great race car, sat on the pole and led the most laps. Brad had some good stuff and was coming at the end but we were up front and got out a ways. We may have been a little tight at the end. Maybe that’s why he was running us a down.”