The subdued Kyle Busch who won the championship last month is nowhere to be seen in Nashville.
Busch has been celebrating all over Music City since arriving in town on Monday. While he will officially be presented the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship Thursday night during the awards banquet, he’s been having “a lot of fun” in what has been a “really, really cool” Champion’s Week.
“Just enjoying the time of having some family time, having some downtime,” said Busch, “not being at the racetrack just being able to let loose a little bit. Have some fun.”
Now a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Busch appeared on WWE RAW and added another accolade to his resume — the 24/7 championship. It is a title where the champion must defend it no matter the place or time, as long as a referee is present. Busch is not the first non-WWE employee to win the title as Fox broadcaster Rob Stone and NBA player Enes Kanter have also had reigns.
“We were just going there for the show, just to watch,” said Busch of his RAW appearance. “They heard we were coming, and then they set us up and said, ‘Hey, you want to be a part of the show?’ And I was like, ‘Well, all right, sure. What you got in mind?’ Then they brought this up, and I’m like, ‘Oh hell. This is going to be fun.’
“It was better than the last time. The last time (2009) they gave me like three pages worth of lines, and I stumbled my ass right on through those terribly. This time they were like, ‘OK, don’t talk, just do.’ So it worked out.”
For the record, Busch lost the 24/7 championship back to R-Truth about an hour later. Busch was doing a photo shoot and social media content backstage with the title and his Cup Series trophy when he was pinned.
Joe Gibbs Racing also had some fun with Busch’s short-lived title reign. In addition to the winner stickers on the window of his No. 18 Toyota, there is now one commemorating his WWE victory.
Tuesday was a Nashville Predators game for Busch to attend. He also introduced Rascal Flatts at the prestigious Grand Ole Opry and has been parading all over town with his trophy. There’s been family photos and media opportunities, which Busch was not only engaging with but even threw down some jokes.
Wednesday night, Busch put on a memorable and entertaining show during the Burnouts on Broadway event. As champion, Busch was the final driver to do a burnout, nosing his car up near the NBCSN set, and while creating a smoke show got out of the car with his arms raised. Busch then did his signature bow from the roof.
“The experience here and having some things to do and being able to go to some of the events and things I’ve been going to has been fun,” said Busch of Nashville, compared to the previous host of Champion’s Week, Las Vegas. “I don’t remember doing quite those many things out in Vegas, it was more work stuff than fun stuff, but we’re certainly getting a lot of cool things done this week.”
Nelly is the reported entertainment for Busch’s after-party.
“Two feels good,” Busch admitted, although the congratulations haven’t necessarily been rolling in. Busch has heard from teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., older brother Kurt, William Byron, and even former champions Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Ray Evernham.
“Not a whole lot of the current field of drivers, and I’m not very offended,” said Busch. “We’re competitors; we want to beat each other. I’m not happy when anybody else wins, so I wouldn’t assume they’d be either.”
By the time that he’s done competing, Busch said he has no idea what his championship count will be. However, he has his eyes on plenty of future moments of glory in Nashville — or wherever Champion’s Week is held.
“It would be nice to say six, seven, eight, whatever, but in all reality, I’d like to set realistic targets — for now, maybe we can adjust later,” said Busch. “But five would certainly be nice to accomplish and get to.”