I doubt that you’ll find many Kyle Busch fans down at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, where in the old days Hank drank, Kris and Willie scribbled songs on cocktail napkins and pickers still play for tips.
Down at Tootsie’s most of the guitars resemble a lot of the clientele — sort of worn out, beat up and frayed around the edges — and anybody who’d do what Kyle did to that fancy Gibson would be taken out back in the alley for a serious heart-to-heart.
They’d have to fill a lot of tip jars at Tootsie’s to afford a $2,600 guitar.
In Music City a guitar is something special, the symbol of the city, and when Kyle destroyed the shiny new one at Nashville Superspeedway last spring he rubbed a lot of Nashville Cats the wrong way.
(And don’t give me that bunk about how the trophy guitar was his to do what he wanted with it. What he did was wanton, wasteful and disrespectful – emblematic of a lot of today’s spoiled superstars.)
We figured we’d seen the last of Busch the Basher in these parts when he announced that he wouldn’t run a full Nationwide Series in 2010. That meant he likely wouldn’t be coming back to Nashville for more “minor league” races he holds in such low accord.
But now it seems he might change his mind. Busch recently said he is considering a defense of his Nationwide championship which would necessitate two visits to Nashville.
We’ll know fairly quickly. The fifth race in the Nationwide Series is April 3 at Nashville Superspeedway. If Busch is going to run the full schedule he’ll have to be there.
If he is, he can expect a frosty reception. Even though Superspeedway GM/VP Cliff Hawks realizes the marquee value of having Busch in the lineup, he’s still peeved over Kyle’s guitar-smashing shenanigans.
So is artist Sam Bass, who hand-paints the trademark trophy guitars. So are a lot of Nashvillians, race fans and otherwise. I believe I’ve already spoken for the pickers down at Tootsie’s.
If Busch decides to return to Nashville to race and wins another guitar, maybe he’ll treat it with a bit more respect next time. Maybe he’s matured since last spring’s visit. Maybe Kindergarten Kyle has grown up.
Then again, maybe not. Although Busch donated some money to buy musical instruments for some Nashville schools — believing he can buy his way out of trouble — he stubbornly refuses to apologize or express remorse for his juvenile antics.
If he comes back to Music City maybe we should hide the guitars, just to be safe.