Anytime a NASCAR driver wins a race, there are certain post-win boxes that every driver is pretty much expected to check. The victory lap with the checkered flag. The burnout. The acknowledgement of the fans. The celebration in victory lane. But, over the years, certain drivers have added their own unique spin to the proceedings that would go on to become fan favorites. You've got Carl Edwards' backflip. Ross Chastain's watermelon smash. Alan Kulwicki's reverse victory lap. Tony Stewart's wall climb. And, of course, Kyle Busch's bow.
With 225 combined wins across NASCAR's three national series (with the majority coming in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and the most recent coming in the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing at Fontana, California's Auto Club Speedway), the 37-year-old Busch has done a whole lot of bowing over the years. Thankfully for Rowdy, his patented celebration is a lot less work intensive than most of the other renowned post-victory feats. That said, it doesn't make it any less iconic.
"You try to remember and you try to do it each time, and it's kind of your signature move," Busch told NASCAR.com. "And it's not nearly as hard as a backflip."
While Kyle Busch doesn't exactly remember when the whole bowing thing first took off, it's the RCR racer's Las Vegas, Nevada roots and desire to put on a show that gave him the idea for his big finale.
"I don't really remember exactly how it started, but I just kind of came up with the idea of when I would do a burnout and one of the biggest burnouts I ever did — that I can recall — was actually early on in my career at Charlotte after winning an Xfinity Series race," Busch said.
"I think I won my third or fourth race. When I did a burnout afterwards there was so much smoke that when I got out of the car, you couldn't see the grandstands. So, I was just standing there, waiting for the smoke to dissipate so I could see the crowd."
"I was like, 'Heeeeey, I'm here.' So I thought of it as, I'm appearing out of the smoke, like I'm a magician. And being from Vegas and being a showman with the background of being from there, I was like, 'OK, what do great performers do every time they have a great performance for the crowd?" They come out and bow for the crowd and are getting applause for the end of the show, so that was kind of my idea."
"Do a big burnout, appear out of the smoke and do a big bow."
Now, once a NASCAR celebration becomes iconic, fans pretty much expect a driver to do it after every win. But, despite the bow's popularity, there are times when Busch doesn't always bust it out, whether accidentally or on purpose.
"There have been races when there were wins and I've forgotten to do it," Busch said. "I don't know how you forget to do it, but you just do, there's so much running through your mind. And if I steal one [a win] I don't typically a do a bow because it's like, 'OK, I stole one, I didn't really deserve it.' But hey, if you have a good performance, do a great job, bow for the crowd."
Still, even if the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion remembers to bow and even if he runs a solid race, there's a third factor that has prevented him giving the people what they want: the post-race interview.
"There was one, the start-finish [line] TV interview they do now and they were on me so fast, I didn't have a chance to do the bow and then I forgot to do it when the interview was over, so I didn't do it," Busch said. "Then on social media afterwards, there was a whole big deal, 'Where was your bow?, why didn't you do your bow?' and people got mad at the interviewer for getting in my face too fast. I was like, wow."
Note to any NASCAR reporters out there: hold your questions until after Kyle Busch does his entire post-win celebration. Or maybe just stay off Twitter for the next week or so. Because there are a lot of things that NASCAR fans get fired up about, and one of those things is Busch's bow. It really gets the people going.
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