Kyle Busch Reignites an Ages-Old Debate
Kyle Busch made comments a few days ago that have ignited fury between the veterans and the young guns of the sport. Busch had been asked about NASCAR’s youth movement and their marketing opportunities such as podcasts, T.V. and movie cameos, and social media takeovers during this year’s NASCAR media tour in Charlotte, North Carolina. Busch wasn’t happy at all, responding, “All you’re doing is advertising all these younger guys for fans to figure out and pick up on and choose as their favorite driver … I think it’s stupid. I don’t know; I’m not the marketing genius that’s behind this deal.” But what’s the problem? NASCAR is introducing fans to their new stars; the stars fans will see winning for years to come. The sport is unique in that its fans tend to attach themselves to one driver, and those fans whose driver has retired recently are looking for a new driver. NASCAR risks losing fans if they don’t help those fans find a new driver.
Not everyone agreed with Busch’s point. Ryan Blaney, a member of NASCAR’s next generation, blames Busch for what he complains about: “I say yes a lot because I think it’s good for the sport and myself. I can tell you personally that he doesn’t like doing a lot of stuff so that’s why they don’t ask him to do a lot of stuff, so that kinda made me upset.” Blaney struck this tone during the rest of his media tour interview.
Bubba Wallace also had things to say about Busch, who was the owner of his truck before he started with Roush-Fenway Racing: “I love Kyle to death, but, damn dude, c’mon,” Wallace said. “I don’t know how old he is. What is he? 32? Damn, he’s that old? Getting up there, bud. He was in the same spot we were. They had the ‘Gillette Young Guns’ back then. He’s still got the baby face now. So, I’m not really sure what he’s trying to say.” Wallace has a good point. Busch came up in the mid-2000’s, and he was one of those young guns. Now, though, he’s in his mid-30s, the prime of his career. He’s winning races left and right, yet he feels under marketed and, despite not “saying yes,” is upset that he’s not getting the marketing opportunities that his younger competitors are getting. It doesn’t make much sense.
Kyle Busch, if you want to be marketed more, take the opportunities that come your way, and seek some out. Complaining even when things are going your way is not a good look. Especially when you’ve helped garner the new youth movement and made the names of drivers such as Erik Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr. “Hypocrisy” doesn’t do this situation justice.