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Back off Busch

Enough, already.

Kyle Busch didn't paint a moustache on the Mona Lisa.

He didn't burn the flag. He didn't scratch himself, a la Roseanne Barr, during the national anthem.

Kyle Busch destroyed a guitar that belonged to him, or more aptly, tried to destroy a guitar that belonged to him.

It wasn't exactly vintage Jimi Hendrix or Pete Townshend, but it was every bit as startling as the guitar-smashing scene in the 1966 Antonioni film Blow-up, where Jeff Beck of the Yardbirds uses his guitar as a weapon against a balky amplifier - and does a much better job of breaking the instrument than Busch did last Saturday in Nashville.

In this case, the guitar was a trophy Busch had earned for winning the Federated Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. Motorsports artist Sam Bass had hand-painted the Gibson Les Paul, roughly a $2,000 instrument. For the past eight years, the Speedway has presented a unique guitar to each of the winners of its races.

Busch's out-of-context celebration took place in victory lane, to the apparent astonishment and chagrin of Bass, track general manager Cliff Hawks and representatives of the title sponsor. The driver had promised each of his crew members that he would smash the guitar trophy and give them each a piece. He kept his promise - or tried to, at least.

Since then, a groundswell of outrage has reached tidal wave proportions. Criticism of Busch's act of destruction sailed past 'irrational' a few days ago. “What if he had smashed the Daytona 500 trophy or broken the grandfather clock at Martinsville?” are oft-repeated themes.

At last check, no rock bands were smashing either grandfather clocks or Daytona 500 trophies in iconoclastic frenzies. One of the reasons Busch planned to smash the guitar 'rock-star-style' was precisely because of what it was — a guitar, not a clock or some other piece of hardware.

In the past few days, Bass has described himself as stunned and heartbroken over the incident. Hawks has chided Busch and emphasised that the track had no part in the planning or execution of the guitar smash.

“I don't think he gets it,” Bass told veteran motorsports writer Larry Woody. “He destroyed something that can't be replaced. He can buy a replica, but he can't replace the original.”

Wait a minute. It wasn't a van Gogh. Nothing against artists such as Bass and Garry Hill, who have devoted their careers to chronicling and preserving the highlights of NASCAR racing — and have done so with exceptional flair and creativity. Typically, though, their work hangs in context-appropriate places such as Speedway Clubs at racetracks across America—not in the Louvre.

And if Bass ever wanted a publicity boost, the viral YouTube video of the victory lane celebration all but assures that if Busch's guitar were ever sold at auction, it would fetch by far the highest price ever for a Sam Bass original.



Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch `celebrates` his victory in Nashville by smashing the Gibson Les Paul guitar trophy   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 as Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage (L) and John Godwin of Duck Commander (R) look on at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #14 Target Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet, gets into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to his eighth Phoenix win with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in sixth place Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Harvick won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was his 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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Rick - Unregistered

June 12, 2009 8:55 PM

What a jerk, I for one would love to have an instrument like that guitar. Just shows what an over paid spoiled POS he really is. Just another reason to drop Nascar and watch paint dry on a plain wall, it's the same excitment.

BC - Unregistered

June 11, 2009 5:43 PM

Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend were stoned when they did this. Maybe Busch needs to be checked along with Mayfield. I would almost hope he was stoned to do something so disrespectful to the sponsors. Can someone really be that much of a jerk to that sober???



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