Rusty Wallace apologizes for calling Kyle Busch name on air

Nick Bromberg

Kyle Busch has certainly gotten used to Victory Lane interviews in the Nationwide Series, so his interview with ESPN on Friday night after he got out of the car was old hat. He addressed the things that have become common; green-white-checker finishes and the chorus of boos that he receives when he wins and celebrates. There was nothing controversial about it.

Wait, what? What was that? Rusty? Was that you?

If you listen closely to the above YouTube clip, you can catch Rusty Wallace calling Busch a "dumbass." It's a moment that might have slipped by had you not been paying 100 percent attention to the interview with Busch and probably necessitated thousands of DVR rewinds. (In the interest of fairness, you can view the Y! video of the interview here. Wallace's comment is at the end, but they are muted moreso than they were in the live broadcast.)

Wallace apologized Monday through ESPN, which said that they wouldn't suspend the 1989 Sprint Cup Champion, who owns two teams in the Nationwide Series.


“At the end of Friday night’s telecast, I made an unfortunate remark regarding Kyle Busch,” Wallace said. “There’s no excuse and I certainly know better. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone, including Kyle, for my mistake."

We've addressed the potential conflicts of interestof ESPN's NASCAR analysts before, but that has nothing to do with the situation. Quite frankly, it may qualify as irony because his Nationwide team receives technical support from Joe Gibbs Racing.

But why would Wallace be calling Busch a dumbass to begin with? Given the role that Wallace has on NASCAR television, it's something that shouldn't be said about any driver inside the booth. Outside at a barbecue with buddies and beer is one thing, but during live production the microphone is always on, as Danyelle Sargeant and others have learned. (DISCLAIMER: the Sargeant video contains explicit language) Simply put, Wallace has been in the broadcasting business long enough to have known better.

Kyle Busch or not, does it matter to you that someone who is paid to broadcast NASCAR races believes that certain drivers are dumbasses? What if that was Dale Earnhardt Jr. instead of Busch? Would that change your opinion? Drop us a line in the comments.