Why Did Kyle Busch Smash a $25,000 Guitar at the Nashville Superspeedway?

Published 12/19/2021, 11:57 AM EST
HAMPTON, GA – JULY 11: Kyle Busch, #18 Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Skittles Gummies looks on prior to the running of the NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 race on July 11, 2021 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Not many athletes would have the gall to smash a trophy. Sure, sometimes it happens by accident when the trophy is not properly secured; just ask Sebastien Bourdais. However, very few drivers actively try to smash a trophy after winning a race. Back in 2009, Kyle Busch had just won the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville and was gifted a hand-painted guitar.

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This wasn’t just any old guitar though; this was a hand-painted Les Paul guitar. Considering that the jazz legend had passed away that year, one would think that the recipient would treasure the gift. The short answer was, Kyle Busch did not treasure it. Instead, he went full Gene Simmons and wrecked it in front of track announcer Joe Williams and artist Sam Bass.

Jul 18, 2021; Loudon, New Hampshire, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) walks to his car during driving introductions before the start of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Williams confessed that the gesture felt like a ‘middle finger’. Naturally, Busch meant no disrespect, but nobody knew it at that time. Later on, it became known that the Joe Gibbs Racing driver ordered a few replicas of the guitar. Additionally, the driver also made a few contributions to Nashville’s music scene.

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Why did Kyle Busch break the guitar?

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Busch’s defense was that he was trying to break the guitar in rock ’n’ roll fashion. He only did it because he wanted to gift a few pieces to each member of his team. Later reflecting on the incident and hearing Busch’s explanation, he was forgiven a little. However, the initial reaction was comparing it to being gifted the Mona Lisa and burning it in front of Leonardo da Vinci.

Surprisingly, Nashville Superspeedway president Erik Moses admitted that Bass was not upset, despite the fact that he had spent nearly 140 hours on it. Meanwhile, Williams confessed that he sometimes had dreams about trying to stop him from destroying it.

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On the bright side, Busch won at Nashville a couple more times, so he had a chance to bring back more guitars. Luckily, he has treated those a little better than the 2009 guitar.

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Dhruv George

12525 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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