Kyle Busch is the Villain that NASCAR Needs

Apr 24, 2017; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) after a crash during the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2017; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) after a crash during the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /

In a time when NASCAR is losing fans left and right and failing to attract new ones, Kyle Busch may be the hero the sport needs. And he may be the hero by being the villain.

NASCAR is currently in a time during which ratings and attendance are falling like crazy. People are fed up with the rule changes such as stage racing and debris cautions which have created the overall lack of NASCAR simply letting the drivers race. The sport is losing fans and failing to attract newer and younger fans.

Could the hero that helps to save NASCAR actually be a villain? It very well may be. Fans of any sport have teams and athletes that they root for and want to do well. But just as many people have teams and athletes that they root against and desperately want to see do poorly.

Given the fact that a number of NASCAR’s most popular drivers have retired recently, including Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon, and the fact that NASCAR’s 14-time reigning Most Popular Driver Award winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. is set to retire at the end of the 2017 season, there are fewer go-to drivers for old and new fans alike to root for.

But Kyle Busch, the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion, has certainly given the sport’s fans someone to root against. And while that statement alone may seem like a negative thing, in terms of the well-being of the sport itself, it can actually be a positive thing.

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Look at the most popular athletes in the United States. The NFL has Tom Brady and Cam Newton. The NBA has Kevin Durant and LeBron James. The MLB has Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. What do all of those athletes have in common in addition to the fact that they are the most popular athletes of their respective sport? They all share the fact that they are among the most hated athletes in their respective sport as well.

Look at what Kyle Busch has done over his career, especially this season alone. He is constantly making headlines for his childish antics, whether it be blaming Goodyear tires for a crash, starting a brawl with Joey Logano, giving obnoxious post-race interviews or otherwise making excuses for not winning races.

Must Read: Top 5 'Kyle Busch' Moments Of 2017

He also races in the Xfinity and Truck Series and wins there all the time, essentially taking away possible victories for young and up-and-coming drivers. As such, many see Busch as an arrogant driver who “takes candy from babies”. Busch leads the all-time Xfinity Series wins list by nearly twice as many wins as the next highest driver with 87 wins, and 82 of those wins have come during his time as a full-time Cup Series driver.

Busch also sits 2nd on the all-time Truck wins list with 48 victories, trailing 1st place Ron Hornaday Jr. by three wins. Of those 48 wins, every single one of them has come during his time as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver.

These types of things make people want to see him fail. Yet despite all of this, he is in the thick of the championship hunt in 3rd place in the championship standings as a past champion of the sport even without winning a race yet this season. In fact, he is the highest driver in the standings without a win yet this season. He is one of the best and most popular drivers in the sport with a great chance of winning, but people want to root against him and see him fail.

While on the surface this seems like a negative thing, it provides drama to the sport and gives old and new fans alike something to watch on a weekly basis. People want to see him fail, but he has a great chance of winning, which causes the sport to be a lot more intriguing.

Next: Kyle Busch: Good Or Bad For NASCAR?

Do you think NASCAR can benefit from having a driver like Kyle Busch in the sport? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram as well as Beyond the Flag on both Instagram and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to follow along with Beyond the Flag for the latest news, opinions, and analysis stemming from a number of different motorsports series. You don’t want to miss any of it.