Long: Kyle Busch reveals his human side in a ‘hard as hell’ year


WATKINS GLEN, NY — Maybe you consider Kyle Busch a hero. Or you see him as a villain. Perhaps you consider him the greatest talent of his generation. Or the most spoiled driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.

No matter.


In this world of soundbites and memes, it’s easy to forget that Kyle Busch is just like you.

He is human.

Regardless of what he can do with a stock car, Busch isn’t immune to life’s challenges. While some of his issues are difficult to understand due to his profession and salary, other difficulties are similar to what many people have experienced.

He and his wife Samantha were open about their struggle to have a child before their son Brexton was born in 2015. The couple also shared their anguish and pain trying to have a second child before using a surrogate to his daughter Lennix.

Just as Brexton’s birth came amid turmoil for Busch (he was recovering from injuries sustained in a crash at Daytona months earlier), Lennix’s birth last May comes amid a turbulent year. for Bush.

He is out of contract for next season after a failed sponsorship deal earlier this year. The idea of ​​Busch leaving Joe Gibbs Racing – his home since 2008 – seems more plausible every day.

Asked what he’s been through on Saturday, Busch paused and then revealed a team he hasn’t shown this year since suggesting in April he might not be back with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Busch acknowledged Saturday at Watkins Glen International that “people aren’t going to or shouldn’t feel sorry for me” because of his social and financial status.

Then he explained what this year was like.

“It’s been hard as hell,” he said. “It’s been a lot of sleepless nights figuring out what your future is and all that kind of stuff.”

Busch continued, speaking for nearly 90 seconds.

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, well, you’ve made a lot of money, you’re fine, you’ve got nothing to worry about,'” he said. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s right, but you still want to do what you love to do, don’t you? … I’m in the same boat.

“I am a runner. I never knew how to run. Nothing else. (I try) to do other commercial projects and things like that, but none of them really exploded and took off. So it was difficult, and understanding all of that is certainly difficult.

“The last time I experienced this (changing rides) was 15 years ago, and it was a learning experience. It was tough back then too, but it wasn’t like now. Then it was just me, me and me.

“I didn’t have Samantha. I had no son. I had no daughter. All I had was an agent helping me. Now I’m kind of on my own doing it, with Samantha and the family, but I’m going through a lot of the same things.

“It’s much, much harder because now you have Kyle Busch Motorsports (a Camping World Truck Series team) that you have to think about. You have a building that you have to pay for. You have a build note and all that kind of stuff. So there are many, many, many parts and that’s why it’s not that simple.

“If you look at every aspect of my life, which some of you may not know or may not fully know, there’s just a lot. So trying to take care of all those pieces and s sure that everything is as it was or has been for the past few years would certainly be good.

Busch, 37, is a two-time Cup champion and future Hall of Famer. His 60 career wins are tied with Kevin Harvick for ninth on the all-time winning list. Dale Earnhardt is right in front of them.

Such success makes it easy to see how a sponsor would want to be aligned with Busch. These Victory Lane photos look great in any office.

For all of his abilities, however, it’s not hard to go online and find snippets of Busch’s temper, his R-rated radio conversations, and his 2017 punch to Joey Logano in Las Vegas.

Is that enough to scare off some sponsors?

Another issue is timing. With a sponsor deal falling through this summer, Joe Gibbs Racing has less time to find a deal that will provide $20 million or more to fund Busch and his No. 18 team. The start of next season is less than six away. month.

For companies that plan multi-million dollar deals well in advance, it is more difficult to close such a deal. Of course, if a company really wants to make it happen, it can be done.

As Busch ponders what his future will be like, he admitted on Saturday that his sleepless nights have come from trying to figure out what his next course of action should be and how competitive he can be.

“You want to be able to go somewhere where you feel like you have a legitimate chance to race to win,” Busch said. “Believe me, I don’t feel like it’s fair to me or my family or anything if we have to spend less time together in the future because we’re going to have to change our way. No doubt, there is a big change coming.

“And you know, is it worth going for a run and not having the opportunity to win right away versus building something versus jumping into something that can win? All these questions are certainly weighed.

“That’s also why it’s not so simple and so easy. So, fortunately, there are opportunities. There are cutting jobs available. But again, it’s not going to be like what he’s been doing for the past 15 years.

Times change, but that’s life. For all of us, including Kyle Busch.