The 2021 NASCAR Cup series champion Kyle Larson has given his verdict on how Denny Hamlin openly embracing the NASCAR villain role changed Kyle Busch and the fans’ attitude towards the RCR driver. Busch used to be one of the most hated drivers in the sport following his run-ins with crowd favorites, but his move out of the Toyota camp seems to have changed the perception.
JGR’s Hamlin completed his heel turn last week at Bristol, where after his emphatic win, his third of the season and 51 in the Cup series, he mocked the fans who were booing him and sowing him the birdie. He proclaimed. “I beat your favorite driver…all of them.” In his post-race press conference, he said he had embraced the role, and the taunting will continue.
While talking about his friend’s words in the NASCAR Race Hub show, Kyle Larson pointed out that since Busch has now become a nice guy, it is important for the sport to have a bad guy to replace him. He added that Denny Hamlin doing it when he is in great form is good for him and the sport as a whole.
“I don’t know. I guess somebody’s got to be it. Kyle seems to turn into Mr. Nice Guy lately — Kyle Busch. So, I guess somebody’s got to embrace it. Hey, when you’re running good, you can be confident, and you can chirp a little bit, too. He’s definitely embraced it, and I think the sport needs it,” Larson said, as reported by Sportscasting.
Busch, earlier this season, explained how he became the bad guy of the sport and ran with it. He pointed out that the villain role is the product of circumstances, and the guys who make the fans the maddest embarrass the part; for a sport that needs entertainment on and off the track, heel characters are needed.
“It just depends. It’s a matter of who makes you mad. It’s just a product of circumstances and what all goes down. Our sport needs some entertainment. It needs some excitement whether it’s on the track or a little bit off the track. If I’m that guy — I’ve been that guy for a little bit. This hat’s black for a reason. We’ll keep rolling,” Busch said.
Busch has been the bad guy, and his former teammate Hamlin has replaced him. The former move to RCR and some impressive PR done on social media helped him to get on the good side of NASCAR fans. Hamlin, on the other hand, has understood that he will never be the good guy for fans in his career, and it’s better for him to embrace it.
Justin P Joy is a Motorsports writer and editor at FirstSportz. He has been a motorsport journalist since 2020 and has published over 2000 articles. Justin has extensively covered two NASCAR, Formula One, and Moto GP seasons for FirstSportz. He has invested more than a decade of his life on Motorsports, first as a fan and later as a dedicated writer. Justin’s in-depth knowledge of Motorsports and his experience as a fan make his writing resonate with most racing fans worldwide.
Justin's love for racing started when he discovered Moto GP at the age of 8. That love later guided him into the world of Formula 1. He fell in love with NASCAR after watching Tom Cruise’s “Days of Thunder” and has been an avid follower of the premier stock car racing series since. He has also been investing his time to exploring WEC, WRC, Formula E, Extreme E, and IndyCar in a bid to deeply understand the culture and history of Motorsports to present a unique perspective to the fans.
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