DOVER, Del. — Kyle Busch has shifted his focus to the Monster Mile, but he’s still facing questions about his emotional post-race press conference after last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver won the Coors Light Pole for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Dover International Speedway on Friday. As is customary for the pole winner, Busch sat in the media center for a post-qualifying media session — his first official presser since answering one question, then dropping his microphone onto the table in front of him in Charlotte.
After putting down a blazing-fast lap of 158.954 mph to narrowly edge Martin Truex Jr.’s 158.877 mph, the first question asked of Busch was about being so emotional at Charlotte.
“I sat in my car for a few seconds and kind of dwelled on the loss a little bit extra before the TV interview, then got to the media center and that time kind of grew and realized what we missed out on, and that was the opportunity of being able to win a Coke 600,” Busch said. “Driving as hard as you do for 600 miles and passing the 78 car (of Truex), I thought that was for the win. Watching the 48 car (of Jimmie Johnson) run out of fuel and then hearing that the 3 (of eventual race-winner Austin Dillon) was in front of us, you were hoping that he would run out for your own sake, but they didn’t and there’s nothing to take away from his win.
“That’s a marquee event and a big one to win. I’ve won two of them (Brickyard 400 and Southern 500). That would’ve been the third and (would have) only left me with the Daytona 500. The other thing was we won the All-Star Race and we were going for the sweep of Charlotte, so there was a lot of things kind of riding on the line that meant a lot to me, that would’ve been special to me, but I guess I should care less about those sorts of things and not show that sort of emotion.”
Earlier in the week, Busch met with a small group of media at an organizational test at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, noting similarities between himself and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and their tendency to draw criticism for how they show emotion – or lack thereof, in Belichick’s case — after a tough loss.
“Certainly, different people show their emotions in different ways,” he reiterated Friday. “Unfortunately for me, mine has never been very gracious and I don’t know that it ever will be. I’m kind of learning that as the days go on. When my son (Brexton) is 2 years old, I see where it came from. It’s genetic. I’m sorry, that’s just who I am. That’s what I was given. If there’s anyone to blame, it’s probably the guy upstairs.
“There’s haters in every form. Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. has haters, I do, Austin Dillon did,” added Busch, who is fifth in points but has yet to win a points-paying race this season.
Haters or not, don’t expect Busch to change any time soon.
“Those people that are close to me understand me and know me and know who I am outside the race track as a person and a friend, and that’s why I’m able to continue to have the relationships and the sponsorships that I do,” he said.