GLADEVILLE, Tenn. — Kyle Busch punished the competition and a brand new Gibson Les Paul guitar trophy Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.
Busch capped his victory celebration after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race by grabbing the custom-painted guitar by the neck and slamming it three times into the Victory Lane concrete before tossing it to his crew.
The rock star antics originated last year when Busch told his team he would smash one of racing’s most coveted prizes if he ever won at Nashville.
To its credit, the guitar chipped but never shattered.
“It didn’t break according to plan,” Busch said. “We’ll go back to the shop and cut it up into smooth pieces, so everyone on the team can have one. Then I’m going to order two more for me and (crew chief) Jason Ratcliff.
“Everybody’s (smashed a guitar) except race-car drivers. Those sorry saps take it home in one piece. I’ll break it up and share it with the team.”
One onlooker who applauded the theatrics was Sam Bass, the artist who paints Nashville’s trophy guitars.
“I’ll be honest with you, I was stunned when it happened,” Bass said. “But when I went to Victory Lane to take a picture with Kyle, he said there was no disrespect to me, the speedway or the sponsors. He just said he was going to give each one of his guys a piece of the trophy. In the spirit of rock and roll and, as someone who appreciates rock and roll, he put on a show.”
That he did.
Busch raced to his fourth Nationwide Series victory of the year and ninth overall NASCAR win of the season, easily holding off Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards in the Federated Auto Parts 300.
The 24-year-old Busch also has three Sprint Cup victories and two Camping World Trucks wins this year, giving him 51 career victories in NASCAR’s top three series.
• IRL — At Fort Worth, Texas, Helio Castroneves is now a three-time Texas winner, too.
Castroneves, who last month won his third Indianapolis 500, beat Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe off pit row on the final stop and held on for the final 46 laps to win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Briscoe was dominating the race, with more than a 10-second lead before a caution flag on the 150th of 228 laps bunched the field after an extended stretch of green-flag racing.
Castroneves worked past Marco Andretti after that restart and was on the tail of his teammate when A.J. Foyt IV crashed 15 laps later.
When everybody went into the pits for the final time, Castroneves had a six-second stop, beating Briscoe and Scott Dixon out by more than a half-second. Castroneves’ winning margin was 0.39 seconds.
• NHRA — At Joliet, Ill., Tony Pedregon raced to his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 36th of his career in the Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
Pedregon powered his Chevy Impala to a 4.079-second run at 304.39 mph to lead the Funny Car field.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Doug Horne (Pro Stock Motorcycle) led their divisions.
• FORMULA ONE — At Istanbul, Turkey, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel edged Formula One championship leader Jenson Button in qualifying to take the pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix.