Kyle Busch: His side of the story

He might be the most polarizing driver in NASCAR, but Kyle Busch insists he’s not the guy he appears to be.

Busch, 24, recently talked to Yahoo! Sports about his role as NASCAR’s villain, a moment scarier than his wreck last July at Daytona and the genesis behind his victory celebration:

Kyle Busch relishes his role as villain, but says it’s mostly for show.
(Jerry Markland/Getty)

1. What was the scarier moment: getting wrecked at Daytona last July or asking your then-girlfriend to marry you?

Busch: Good question. It was easier to ask her to marry me than it was to go talk to her dad about it. That was the challenging part. I knew what her response was going to be. That was simple. But, talking to her dad was a bit, I’m not going to say intimidating, but just trying to make sure everything went smooth there and I got the right answer that I was looking for was probably more nerving than wrecking.

2. What is it about racing that you love so much?

Busch: I think the best thing about racing for me is just being able to get out there in a car, by myself, and just try to outdo everybody else – to be the best.

I think the thing about racing is, you don’t do it just to go fast and run in circles. You do it to be the rest of your competitors, and to be the best on that day or be the best ever. It’s a competition and that’s what it’s about to me.

Even when I play racquetball or when I was playing baseball as a kid – I was always the guy who wanted to win, wanted to show that I was the best and that I could do anything. Sometimes I’m not the best and I don’t win, but you always give it your all.

3. Why did you want to start your own truck team?

Busch: The reason it all when down and was going to start was that I had a sponsor that was really interested in doing it, and that was Miccosukee.

We were together with Billy Ballew and everything was great there. [Miccosukee] said, “You know what, let’s go a step further. You do your own deal, and we want to be the start of it. We’ll be here for two years and it’ll be pretty cool.”

I said, “Alright, let’s go,” and we started the deal and were going into it getting heavily involved and was already way too far to back out when they decided to back out. So, it just didn’t work out.

4. In the seemingly 4½ minutes you’re not racing, what do you like to do?

Busch: I like to hang out with Samantha or chill out at home or go the race shop and work on – right now the biggest task has been trying to work out sponsorship [for my truck team]. I hang with the guys, go to the shop and talk with Dave [Rogers, crew chief].

I’m all over the place. I never stop.

Another fun thing I like to do now is play some racquetball or just kind of go on vacation when I can.

5. What is the genius behind the bow?

Busch: To be honest with you, the bow kind of came from Vegas shows. Whether it’s the show girls or the Blue Man Group or Lance Burton or any other magician, they always give a bow after the performance is over thanking the crowd for coming out and supporting them for what they did that day.

So for me, I do a big, smoky burnout and I climb out of the car and I’m there appearing when the smoke disappears, kind of like a magician and I do a bow sort of thanking the fans for coming out and watching me kick everybody’s butt.

6. You seem to embrace playing the villain. Is that an act or is that really who you are?

Busch: I think it’s more of a show thing. It’s more of what I do around the race track. I’m not a villain or a bad guy per se in my regular life. If you wanted to ask Samantha that question, she’d be willing to answer it, I’m sure. You know, I don’t think she would be with me if I was a bad guy or I’d have friends if I was a bad guy or I’d have people wanting to work for me on my truck teams or my Cup teams or anything.

I mean, I can kind of show that I might be a bit of a bad guy or someone who’s not easy to get along with, but when it comes down to it, you know I’m not that type.

7. What’s the most frivolous thing you spend money on?

Busch: Right now it’s the truck team. I am definitely not making any money there, that’s for sure. I am going to be in the negative here for a couple of years on that deal.

That’s where I’m putting my money now, into my truck team and into my late-model team, so I guess you’d say it’s into racing in general.

8. Who’s the best driver in your family?

Busch: My dad’s probably the smartest racer in my family. He’s pretty smart. My mom, she’s got the lead foot. They gave Kurt and I what we have today.

9. Are you addicted to Twitter?

Busch: No. I’m not addicted to Titter, per se. Samantha’s looking at me telling me I do it too much anyway. There’s some other people who do it a lot more than I do. I’m going to say Scott and Amanda Speed are addicted to Twitter, for sure. They’re actually the ones who got us into it.

Like I went a day without it. I think Sunday [March 14] I didn’t post anything. So, it’s not something that I live off of.

9 ½ The one thing I want fans to know about me is …

Busch: Really, I’m not that hard to get along with. I’m just a normal, simple guy. I like to do the things I like to do.

I’ve got a lot of involvement around racing and that’s pretty much lived my life, where I’ve grown up in my life, and so I think that’s why I like to own the race teams that I own now and I have the interest in the people that work for me and stuff like that.

So, I’m 24 years old owning the massive company that’s grown way out of anything that I thought it would have grown into in the past three years. So, it’s been very, very interesting in how to handle all that and tackle the challenges of it.

Jay Hart is a Senior Editor for Yahoo! Sports. Send Jay a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Friday, Mar 26, 2010