NASCAR fans are used to hearing controversial things out of Kyle Busch’s mouth — not his brother’s.
Well, that changed this week.
During the NASCAR Media Tour on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., Kyle said the sport’s emphasis on marketing young drivers is “stupid.” Fellow drivers ripped the ever-opinionated Kyle for the comments, but NASCAR itself said the remarks were “fair.”
Enter Kyle’s brother, Kurt Busch.
During a recent appearance on the Domenik Nati Show, Kurt attempted to rationalize his brothers comments.
“I agree with certain aspects of what he’s challenged, and then I disagree with other parts of it,” Kurt said. “But what I think he’s trying to say is we’re promoting these guys, and they don’t have the race wins yet. There’s zero in the win column for a guy like Chase Elliott. There’s zero for Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones — all those guys. … We haven’t seen their success on track translate to what’s being shown to the world.”
Kurt then was asked who he thinks is NASCAR’s most overrated driver, and he responded by zeroing in on the 22-year-old Elliott, who still hasn’t won on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“That’s a touchy subject, and I think that’s what my little brother, Kyle, is referring to,” Kurt said. “And it’s cute. There’s different chosen ones or guys that take over iconic rides. But right now, Bill Elliott’s son — who is going to be a big-time player in our sport and has yet to win — is Chase Elliott. But he’s doing a good job, it’s all starting to blend in, and I’d say he’s just slightly overrated right now without the race wins that he should have in the win column.”
Listen to Kurt’s comments below:
Now, is Kurt’s criticism of Elliott fair? Maybe, as Elliott — for all the hype — has yet to enter victory lane on NASCAR’s biggest stage.
Still, the Hendrick Motorsports driver — who, beginning this season, will drive the No. 9 to honor his legendary father — did make the Cup playoffs last season, and finished the year with an impressive 12 top-10s. So, while Elliott definitely has a ways to go before fulfilling his enormous potential, there’s no denying he’s one of NASCAR’s most talented drivers.
Although, if Elliott’s winless streak stretches deep into the upcoming season, the narrative surrounding him surely will change.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports Images